Moderna to build mRNA production plant in Canada within two years – .

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Moderna to build mRNA production plant in Canada within two years – .


OTTAWA – Massachusetts-based drugmaker Moderna will build an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Canada over the next two years, CEO Stéphane Bancel said Tuesday.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government that will make Canada home to Moderna’s first foreign company. It is not yet clear how much money Canada has offered Moderna for the project.

“I believe this technology can get Canada ready for the next virus,” Bancel said during an announcement in Montreal.

“Whether it’s a small epidemic or a large pandemic like the one we just saw – God forbid – Canada will be ready. We will be ready on Canadian soil to manufacture, in a few months, a new vaccine for a new emerging virus to protect the Canadian population.

The deal will give Canada access to Moderna’s mRNA ‘development engine’, priority access to doses, and Bancel said Canada can also ask Moderna to move its production lines to respond. to a new or emerging threat.

It will also include a research and development component not only for COVID-19, but for a host of other conditions, including influenza, heart disease, cancer and rare genetic disorders.

This new technology has already changed millions of lives, Bancel said, but over the next 10 to 20 years he believes it will change millions more.

Canada, whose life sciences industry has been decimated over the past three decades, wants to be part of the action. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to rebuild the industry, and the recent budget provided for an investment of $ 2.2 billion over seven years to grow the life sciences and biotechnology sectors.

Almost half of this figure targets companies wishing to expand or set up production of vaccines and drugs in Canada. None of the COVID-19 vaccines to date have been made in Canada, leaving the country entirely dependent on imports to fill vaccine orders so far. As a result, Canada has been slower to get started with vaccinations than some of its counterparts that had domestic production, and it also appears to have had to pay more per dose for some vaccines.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who made the announcement with Bancel in Montreal, said Canada’s new commitment to life science and biotechnology companies is getting a lot of business attention , including Moderna.

“It’s no secret that every country in the world wants a COVID-19 vaccine made in their country,” he said.

Bancel said similar deals were also being negotiated with other countries.

The location of the new facility has not been finalized, but Bancel said the availability of an educated workforce will be the main deciding factor. He said the design is complete and they will need to start hiring very soon so the training can begin.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, one of two currently licensed messenger RNA or mRNA vaccines, is one of the most effective to date against the virus that causes COVID-19, and Bancel said the results recent years have shown that it is almost as effective after six months as it was after two.

This is the second major deal Ottawa has reached for mRNA vaccines to be made in Canada in the past three months.

In May, Champagne said Ottawa would provide $ 199 million to Resilience Technologies in Mississauga, Ont., About half the cost of expanding its existing plant to manufacture up to 640 million doses of mRNA vaccine each. year.

Canada has also pledged $ 126 million for a new National Research Council to build an organic production plant in Montreal.

This facility, which is nearing completion, is to manufacture a vaccine for Novavax from Maryland. The company expected to seek final clearance for its COVID-19 vaccine last spring, but so far that has not happened. Last week, the company raised issues with production consistency, when it postponed its planned U.S. demand until the fall. This is the third time that Novavax has delayed its filing in the United States.

It began an ongoing review for authorization with Health Canada last winter, but final approval has still not taken place in that country either. Novavax is a subunit protein vaccine, not an mRNA vaccine.

Canada has also pledged more than $ 400 million to help Sanofi complete the $ 925 million expansion of its vaccine production plant in Toronto. The existing factory mainly manufactures flu shots, and the expansion will focus on that as well.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 10, 2021

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