One of the world's leading COVID-19 vaccine developers, Moderna Inc., announced on Wednesday that it reached an agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to fund the development of a mobile prototype of Moderna's already-existing manufacturing technology, which is capable of producing large numbers of vaccines and other therapeutics in short spans of time.The contract totals $56 million and leverages off a grant awarded to Moderna by DARPA in 2013. DARPA is currently heading an initiative labeled Nucleic Acids On Demand World-Wide (NOW), which is aimed at developing the mobile prototype to manufacture top-grade vaccines and other therapeutics in the field so that they may be administered to military personnel and civilian populations on the fly,The desired device would be able to produce hundreds of vaccines in a matter of days, using a six cubic feet-sized container to manufacture and deliver the therapeutics to remote locations around the world."We are pleased to continue our collaboration with DARPA with a new award and we look forward to building on our experience rapidly designing and manufacturing vaccines as demonstrated with mRNA-1273, our COVID-19 vaccine currently in a Phase 3 study, and mRNA-4157, our personalized cancer vaccine currently in a Phase 2 study," said Chief Executive Officer of Moderna Stéphane Bancel. "This new award will allow us to explore the reach of our technology to potentially enable fast, in-field, automated manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics for both military personnel and civilians around the world in a container that can be deployed rapidly to make customized vaccines or therapeutics," he added. "The ability to make medicines in a mobile unit could have an important impact on the ability to respond to future viral challenges. Moderna is committed to being part of the solution in preventing future pandemics," Bancel added.