Moderna, Inc. the American pharmaceutical and Biotechnology company, will build a new research and manufacturing centre in Britain to develop vaccines against the new COVID-19 variants and other respiratory illnesses and improve readiness for any future pandemics.
Under the proposed agreement the facility is expected to start producing shots in 2025 and Britain has made a commitment to buy Moderna’s vaccines for the next decade.
Covid-19 vaccines from the company, in addition to pioneering technology and mRNA innovation were in large part responsible for British PM Boris Johnson to ease the economy back from a strict lockdown regimen.
The Chief Executive Officer at Moderna, Stephane Bancel said that the priority was to develop a shot combining refreshed boosters against COVID, flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Bancel said that with this agreement, Moderna, which has a long-term partnership with the UK, intends to build a facility in the country that would be pandemic ready.
Bancel added that the UK is committed to purchasing the product for the next ten years, and the capacity that the company is building would be able to quickly reallocate production according to the country’s requirements.
The UK’s health ministry said that the pandemic had shown mRNA technology to be one of the fastest routes to develop new vaccines and could be applied to other areas, such as heart disease, cancer, flu and dementia.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom said in a statement that their investment would guarantee shots in arms against some of the toughest viruses out there bringing the country to the forefront of the fight against future threats of the virus.
In the month of December, Britain said that it ordered 60 million more Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses to be delivered in 2022-2023. The Moderna CEO stated that the company intends to introduce a variant-specific booster dose by August this year, ahead of Britain’s scheduled Autumn booster campaign.
The success of its vaccine has directed the company to look for expansion globally through new manufacturing facilities in Canada, Australia and Kenya.
Further specifications such as the location of the final plant in Britain were being finalised and the financial terms were not disclosed.
Bancel added that he hoped construction would start this year and that they have shortlisted a couple of sites.
The company would shortly be able to announce the location.
After its formation in 2016, the company has evolved from a company researching mRNA to an advanced entity with a diverse portfolio of products spanning seven modalities.
The company owns an integrated manufacturing plant that allows for both clinical and commercial production at scale, as well as a broad intellectual property portfolio in areas including mRNA and lipid nanoparticle formulation.
Moderna continues associations with a broad range of domestic and overseas commercial and government collaborators. In recent times, Moderna’s capabilities have collectively come together to allow the authorized use and approval of one of the earliest and most effective vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moderna’s mRNA platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, and manufacturing and delivery technology, which allows the development of therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, and autoimmune diseases. For the past seven years, Moderna has been termed a top ‘biopharmaceutical employer’ by Science magazine.