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Moderna to build vaccine manufacturing centre in UK

22 December 2022
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USA-headquartered Pharma company Moderna is to build a new vaccine manufacturing centre  in the UK with the ability to produce up to 250 million vaccines a year.

The investment means NHS patients will be able to receive UK-manufactured mRNA vaccines.

The partnership with Moderna will see a new Innovation and Technology Centre in the UK, which will create more than 150 highly skilled jobs and have the capacity to produce up to 250 million vaccines per year in the event of a pandemic.

The location of the new centre has not yet been announced.

This latest news comes after the government controversially sold its Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Harwell to Catalent earlier this year.

Catalent, the USA based pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing business, promised to invest up to $160 million (£120 million) to complete the building of the facility and equip it with state-of-the-art capabilities but in November, it was reported that the company had rowed back on its promises.

Calaten has paused work to complete the facility, based at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.

Moderna has committed to invest substantial funding in UK-based R&D activities over a 10-year period. This will include running a significant number of clinical trials in the UK and it has also pledged to fund grants for UK universities, including PhD places and research programmes.

mRNA technology has proven to be one of the fastest routes to develop highly effective vaccines during the pandemic and has been pivotal in protecting people. It has the potential to be a transformative breakthrough technology in a number of disease areas, including cancer, respiratory illnesses and heart disease. mRNA vaccines also have the potential to treat multiple pathogens in a single shot. The new research centre will look to unlock this potential by developing revolutionary treatments in the UK, which will benefit NHS patients and people worldwide.

Construction is expected to commence in early 2023, with the first mRNA vaccine expected to be produced in the UK in 2025.

The deal also means that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will work with Moderna to ensure early vaccine development, supporting the G7 mission to get from variant to vaccine in 100 days.

The centre will offer NHS patients access to Moderna’s Covid vaccines that can protect against multiple variants. It will also have the potential to develop vaccines targeting a range of other illnesses, such as flu and RSV, pending the usual process of the regulatory assessments and licencing.

Developing vaccines on UK shores means it will be able to scale up production rapidly in the event of a health emergency, significantly boosting our ability to respond to future pandemics.

This is the finalisation of the partnership, led by the Vaccine Taskforce, that was announced earlier this year in June.


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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