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Moderna opts for Oxfordshire in a quest for innovation

Vaccines developed at the facility will cover a wide range of respiratory diseases.

Moderna has revealed that Harwell – the notable science and innovation campus in Oxfordshire – will become the primary location for its Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre (MITC).

The announcement follows Moderna’s ten-year strategic partnership with the UK government, which was finalised at the end of last year.

The MITC will involve a development, research and manufacturing facility, which aims to provide the UK public with access to mRNA vaccines. These vaccines will cover a wide range of respiratory diseases, pending independent regulatory assessment and licensure.

The facility will also include a clinical biomarker laboratory that will be constructed by the offsite construction and engineering company, Merit. Meanwhile, the drug substance and manufacturing elements will be constructed by Birmingham-based engineering firm IPS.

It is expected that Moderna’s investment will create hundreds of jobs during the initial construction and operation phase, which will begin this year. Furthermore, the manufacturing facility is due to become operational in 2025, subject to local planning and various necessary approvals.

Darius Hughes, UK general manager at Moderna, is optimistic about the difference that MITC can make at its new location: “We are delighted to reach this important milestone – we look forward to joining the Harwell Campus health tech cluster and contributing to the UK’s science and innovation community through investments in R&D.”

He added: “When constructed, our facility at Harwell will harness mRNA science that aims to develop and deliver innovative vaccines to the UK public that address emerging threats from respiratory viruses facing our population.”

Health and social care secretary, Steve Barclay, added: “Moderna’s new Innovation and Technology Centre means NHS patients will have access to cutting-edge mRNA vaccines to fight against future variants of COVID-19, as well as other respiratory viruses, while also creating hundreds of jobs.

“Harwell is already leading science and innovation in the UK and we look forward to the opening of this new mRNA centre.”