A leading biotechnology company, Moderna, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Kenyan government to establish a $500 million mRNA vaccine and related drug manufacturing facility in the West African country. ballast.
According to a statement made available to The Guardian, the proposed facility, which is expected to be the first of its kind in Africa, has been designed with the aim of producing up to 500 million doses of vaccines per year and to focus on the manufacture of medicinal substances which could be extended. to include on-site fill/finish and packing capabilities.
Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel said Moderna was also working on plans that would allow it to fill doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Africa, as early as 2023, subject to demand.
“The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years has been a reminder of the work that needs to be done to ensure equity in global health,” he said, adding that “Moderna is committed to be part of the solution and today we are announcing another step in this journey to build a drug substance mRNA manufacturing facility capable of delivering up to 500 million doses to the African continent each year.
Bancel explained that Moderna’s global mRNA-based public health vaccine program and its Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Nipah vaccine programs are being undertaken with the support and partnership of the Republic of Kenya. , the African Union and the US government.
“We believe this step will become one of many on a journey to ensure sustainable access to transformative mRNA innovation on the African continent and positively impact public health,” he said. he adds.
Moderna co-founder and president Noubar Afeyan, who expressed his gratitude to all partners, said the company was honored to have played such a critical role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with its vaccine. , adding that Moderna was determined to expand its global impact with the first manufacturing facility on the African continent.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Kenyan government was delighted to partner with Moderna as the facility would help prepare Kenya and its sister states on the continent, through the African Union, to respond to future health crises and to avoid the next pandemic.
“The partnership is a testament to the capabilities of our community and our commitment to technological innovation,” he said, adding that Moderna’s investment in Kenya will help advance equitable global access to vaccines and is emblematic of the structural developments that will enable Africa to become an engine of sustainable global growth”.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Senator Mutahi Kagwe said, “Kenya recognizes and appreciates Moderna’s collaboration in building its local manufacturing capacity, noting that the project will ensure rapid response to health demands requiring vaccines.
Moderna’s mRNA pipeline, in its prophylactic vaccines modality, includes 28 vaccine programs, including respiratory virus vaccines, latent virus vaccines and global public health threat vaccines.