LONDON — The United Kingdom plans to boost its vaccine-manufacturing stability and strengthen research in the field through a deal with Moderna that will see the United States-based biotech deliver its first made-in-Britain vaccines in three years.
The UK government has announced in a statement that Moderna will start building a new mRNA research and development centre and a large manufacturing facility this year.
It is the first deal from the UK’s Vaccines Taskforce, which the Office for Life Sciences has supported, set up at the start of the pandemic to ensure a supply of COVID-19 vaccines and prepare the country for future health threats better.
The government said that the outlined agreement lays the groundwork for detailed talks to establish a long-term partnership.
While the location of the facility and the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the government said the deal will provide UK.
patients with “guaranteed access to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine” and the ability to produce jabs targeting a range of other illnesses, such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
“We are bringing supercharged, home-grown vaccines right to our shores,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “I want the UK to be the brightest and best in research and technology, creating more jobs and securing our economic future,” he added.
The mRNA Innovation and Technology Center will develop new mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 that can protect against multiple variants, as well as build on existing mRNA research into cancer, dementia and heart disease.
Clinical trials will also be carried out in the UK, as part of the deal. The manufacturing facility will also be able to scale up production rapidly in the event of a health emergency.