HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has awarded $8.2 million to Moderna Therapeutics to help further development of a novel vaccine against the Zika virus. Under the initial 4-year agreement, ASPR's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will support a Phase I clinical trial, toxicology studies, vaccine formulation, and manufacturing. The agreement could be extended up to a total of 5 years and a total of $125.5 million to support Phase II and III clinical trials and large-scale manufacturing. "Today's agreement with Moderna expands and diversifies our portfolio of candidate vaccines and improves our chances of having a vaccine to provide protection to people and halt the spread of the Zika virus," said Richard Hatchett, MD, acting director of BARDA. The Moderna vaccine uses messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccine technology.