US-based biotech company Moderna will establish a state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility, named the mRNA Innovation and Technology Centre (MITC), in the UK. The facility will be utilised to develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines against Covid-19, seasonal influenza, and other respiratory viruses.
The facility will be built as part of a ten-year strategic partnership between Moderna and the UK Government to invest in research and development (R&D) activities in the UK. It is expected to create more than 150 jobs.
The partnership will strengthen the UK’s pandemic response capabilities and ensure future preparedness for any emergent health risks. It will also boost health research in the UK, as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will collaborate with Moderna to ensure the early development of vaccines. In addition, the facility will promote the G7’s objective to achieve a vaccine within 100 days of the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant.
The new facility will be able to manufacture up to 250 million vaccine doses a year. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2023, with operations due to start in 2025.
Details of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility
The large-scale manufacturing facility aims to provide UK National Health Service (NHS) patients with constant access to Covid-19 vaccines and other next-generation of mRNA vaccines and treatments.
The facility is also intended to be activated on an emergency basis to provide the UK with direct access to its pandemic response capabilities, as part of the UK’s worldwide efforts under the ‘100 Days Mission’ to minimise the effect of future pandemics.
Once operational, the MITC will enable access to a portfolio of future mRNA vaccines against respiratory viruses, pending regulatory approval and licensing.
Moderna’s mRNA platform
Moderna’s mRNA platform is based on continuous advancements in fundamental and applied mRNA research, delivery technology and manufacturing, allowing for the development of therapies and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, cardiovascular disorders, and autoimmune diseases. mRNA technology is one of the fastest routes of developing highly effective vaccines and has played a pivotal role in protecting people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moderna is developing vaccines for diseases such as Covid-19, flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Zika virus, and Nipah virus.
The company’s therapeutic portfolio includes therapies for PD-L1 autoimmune hepatitis, personalised cancer vaccines (PCVs), IL-12 solid tumours, VEGF-A myocardial ischaemia, PCCA/PCCB propionic acidaemia (PA), MUT methylmalonic acidaemia (MMA), G6Pase glycogen storage disease type 1a (GSD1a), ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTC), PAH phenylketonuria (PKU), Crigler-Najjar Syndrome Type 1 (CN-1), and cystic fibrosis.
Marketing commentary on Moderna
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Moderna focuses on the development and manufacturing of mRNA therapeutics and vaccines, employing more than 3,900 people.
The company is currently focusing on four medical areas, namely infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare disorders, and autoimmune diseases.
Moderna intends to expand its footprint in the UK through R&D investments that can complement its significant global R&D activities. It has collaborated with the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) on a Phase III clinical trial of the company’s bivalent omicron-containing booster candidate, mRNA-1273.214.
In December 2021, the UK Government bought 60 million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine separately; of these doses, 29 million were to be delivered in 2022 and 31 million in 2023. The vaccines may include authorised booster vaccine candidates. The company is working closely with the Covid Vaccine Unit to supply Covid-19 vaccines in the UK.