Moderna has announced the halt of its project to build a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) manufacturing facility in Kenya, citing a significant decrease in the Covid-19 vaccine demand across the region.

In March 2023, the company finalised an agreement with the government of the Republic of Kenya to establish a manufacturing unit that can produce 500 million vaccine doses annually.

The latest decision aligns with the company’s ongoing assessment of future vaccine requirements in the region.

The planned facility’s viability is currently under threat as Africa’s need for Covid-19 vaccines has diminished since the height of the pandemic.

Moderna has not secured any vaccine orders for African nations since 2022. The cancellation of existing orders has led to losses and write-downs exceeding $1bn for the company.

Despite these financial setbacks, Moderna is equipped to guarantee equitable access to its Covid-19 vaccine, intending to fulfil the emerging needs of African countries through its extensive global production network.

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The company is also progressing its research and development efforts, focusing on vaccines for public health issues prevalent in Africa such as HIV and malaria. These investigational vaccines are currently in the initial stage of development.

In light of the current situation and to ensure strategic alignment, Moderna announced its plans to halt its efforts to establish the mRNA manufacturing facility in Kenya.

The company stated: “Moderna appreciates the strong support received from the governments of the United States and Kenya on this journey. 

“We look forward to a continuing dialogue about future options to support the Kenyan healthcare ecosystem, including as we advance other mRNA vaccines and therapeutics of importance to the African continent through our pipeline.”

In February 2024, Moderna concluded the construction works at its new respiratory mRNA manufacturing facility in Canada.

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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