Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna, which specialises in the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, has signed an agreement with the government of Canada to open a new mRNA vaccine factory in the country.

The collaboration aims to provide Canadians with access to a domestically manufactured portfolio of mRNA vaccines against respiratory viruses. These will include Covid-19, seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus. The facility is also intended to be activated on an urgent basis to support Canada with direct access to rapid pandemic response capabilities.

In a press release, chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel said: “I would like to thank the government of Canada for the partnership it has built with us and for its faith in our data, science and early confidence in our mRNA platform in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. We recently announced data from the final analysis of the Phase 3 COVE study demonstrating that vaccination with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine showed 93% efficacy, with this efficacy remaining durable six months after administration of the second dose.”

Moderna’s memorandum of understanding with the Canadian government is the first instance of a sustainable national business model that the company intends to apply to other countries. Moderna is currently in discussion with other governments about potential collaborations built on a similar model.