The site will include drug substance manufacturing with the opportunity for fill/finish and packaging capabilities at the site.
The country and site has not yet been chosen; but Moderna says it will start the selection process soon. The plant will manufacture the company’s COVID-19 vaccine; but also expects to expand to additional mRNA products in the future (Moderna’s pipeline includes 20 vaccine candidates in its prophylactic vaccines modality including vaccines against respiratory viruses, vaccines against latent viruses and vaccines against threats to global public health).
Stephane Bancel, CEO, Moderna, said: “Since Moderna’s founding in 2010, our mission has been to make a transformative impact on human lives through our medicines. After a decade of pioneering the development of our mRNA platform, we have been humbled to play a critical role in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic globally with our mRNA vaccine. We view Moderna’s work as only just beginning.
“On behalf of our growing team, partners and shareholders, we are determined to extend Moderna’s societal impact through the investment in a state-of-the-art mRNA manufacturing facility in Africa. While we are still working to increase capacity in our current network to deliver vaccines for the ongoing pandemic in 2022, we believe it is important to invest in the future. We expect to manufacture our COVID-19 vaccine as well as additional products within our mRNA vaccine portfolio at this facility.”
Moderna and its partners have ramped up capacity worldwide and have supplied more than 500 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to date. In the US its supply chain includes partners such as Lonza, Catalent and Baxter; while its international supply chain includes Lonza, Recipharm and Rovi.
It has been working on increasing capacity ‘at a significant pace’. In August it announced a collaboration with the Canadian government to build an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in the country; while other partnerships announced recently include an agreement for Resilience to manufacture drug substance for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Today’s announcement will see the company add a manufacturing site on the African continent to its global network.
Fellow mRNA company BioNTech also aims to build up vaccine manufacturing in Africa: in August, a joint communiqué set out its ambitions to establish manufacturing capabilities in Rwanda and Senegal with a focus on its mRNA malaria and tuberculosis vaccines, which are currently in development.
Africa currently imports 99% of vaccines administered in the country.