Moderna has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of the Republic of Kenya to build a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) manufacturing facility in the country.

The MoU was signed by the company with assistance from the US Government.

Moderna is establishing this facility in Africa to manufacture up to 500 million vaccines doses per year. 

The company plans to invest up to $500m in this new plant, which is intended to carry out drug substance production for Kenya.

The facility might be extended to incorporate fill/finish as well as packaging expertise at the site. 

Simultaneously, Moderna is developing strategies to permit the new plant to begin to fill doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in Africa by next year, based on the demand.

The mRNA pipeline of the company in its preventive vaccines modality comprises 28 vaccine programmes including those for respiratory viruses, latent viruses and other global public health threats.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said: “Battling the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two years has provided a reminder of the work that must be done to ensure global health equity.

“Moderna is committed to being a part of the solution and today, we announce another step in this journey – an investment in the Republic of Kenya to build a drug substance mRNA manufacturing facility capable of supplying up to 500 million doses for the African continent each year.” 

In February, Moderna signed a distribution service agreement with Latin American company Adium Pharma, which will facilitate the marketing of the former’s Covid-19 vaccine, Spikevax, in the region. 

According to the agreement, the doses of the vaccine will be supplied in 18 Latin American countries including Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.