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Moderna Inc, a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kenyan government to establish the first mRNA manufacturing facility in Africa.

Image by Spencer Davis from Pixabay

The agreement, that was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in State House Nairobi, will see Moderna establish a state-of-the-art mRNA facility in Africa with the goal of producing up to 500 million doses of vaccines each year.

The Company anticipates investing up to 60 billion shillings in the new facility which will focus on drug substance manufacturing on the continent of Africa for the continent of Africa, and could also be expanded to include fill/finish and packaging capabilities at the site.

“We are pleased to partner with Moderna in the establishment of this mRNA manufacturing facility to help prepare the country and our sister states on the continent through the African Union to respond to
future health crises and stave off the next pandemic,” said President Kenyatta.

“This partnership is a testament to the capabilities of our community and our commitment to technological innovation. Moderna’s investment in Kenya will help advance equitable global vaccine access and is emblematic of the structural developments that will enable Africa to become an engine of sustainable global growth”, the President added. “Kenya recognizes and appreciates the collaboration of Moderna in building our local manufacturing capacity. This will ensure as a country and region we can quickly respond to health demands requiring Vaccine commodities”, said health cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

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Moderna is also working on plans to allow it to fill doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Africa as early as  2023, subject to demand. “Battling the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years has provided a reminder of the work that must be done to ensure global health equity. Moderna is committed to being a part of the solution and today, we announce another step in this journey – an investment in the Republic of Kenya to build a drug substance mRNA manufacturing facility capable of supplying up to 500 million doses for the African continent each year,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “With our mRNA global public health vaccine program, including our vaccine programs against HIV and Nipah, and with this partnership with the Republic of Kenya, the African Union and the U.S. Government, we believe that 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 added.

“We would like to thank the Government of the Republic of Kenya for their support in bringing our mRNA manufacturing facility to Kenya. We would also like to thank the U.S. Government for assisting us in this process,” said Noubar Afeyan, Co-founder and Chairman of Moderna.

In its prophylactic vaccines modality, Moderna’s mRNA pipeline includes 28 vaccine programs including vaccines against respiratory viruses, vaccines against latent viruses and vaccines against threats to global public health.