The UK government is partnering with Boston-based Moderna in a £1bn deal to set up the country’s first messenger RNA vaccine manufacturing hub, as it seeks to lead the way in tackling current and future pandemics.
The government’s goal is to secure the supply of domestic technology, which has proven to be a key weapon in the fight against Covid-19 and holds promise for transforming the treatment of other diseases such as cancer.
Once completed, the centre could be located anywhere from the “Golden Triangle” between London, Oxford and Cambridge in the south of England to a site in the north-east – up to 250 million doses of vaccine will be produced each year, some for export. The 10-year agreement, which will also include collaboration on research and development, will be finalized later in the summer.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said the government has pumped modern Long-term supply agreements with vaccines and a strong life sciences ecosystem in the UK.
“It’s huge in size and capacity,” he told the Financial Times. “I think it shows that in a post-Brexit UK, the UK is a European leader when it comes to inward investment, especially in life sciences in this case.”
He added that he had sought and obtained “personal mandate” from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to negotiate the deal. Javid visited Moderna earlier this year.
In 2020, the government betting heavily The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the University of Oxford has never reached the level of efficacy of mRNA jabs.
Johnson said the investment will “ensure a boost” and create new jobs as the Boston-based biotech develops vaccines against other respiratory diseases, including the flu and respiratory syncytial virus.
“We’ve all seen vaccines work, and today’s collaboration brings us one step closer to finding treatments for some of the most devastating diseases,” he said.
The agreement in principle includes the establishment of Made in China mRNA vaccines that can rapidly adapt to outbreaks of new pathogens.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of a homegrown supply of vaccines as governments including the United States and India restrict their exports.
The government said it had invested £395m to secure and expand the country’s pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity since the start of the pandemic.but it also sells parts Flagship Vaccine Manufacturing Center.
Javid has made it clear that the government sees this investment as a key part of its post-Brexit life sciences strategy. Under the agreement, Moderna will conduct most of its clinical trials in the UK.
ministers think A medical record from cradle to grave Produced by the taxpayer-funded NHS, it cares for Britons for a lifetime, serving as an important driver for companies to invest in the country.
Moderna’s chief executive Stéphane Bancel said the UK had built a “world-class life sciences and research community”. Moderna will also build a facility that will allow university researchers to access its mRNA platform.
“We are committed to global public health and we are delighted to bring local mRNA manufacturing to the UK as we continue to expand internationally,” he said.
One of the lessons of the pandemic, Javid said, is to make sure the country is more resilient. “There will be pandemics in the future,” he said. “None of us know exactly what, when and how.”