mRNA revolution report: Moderna case study

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Moderna has been at the forefront of mRNA technology since 2010, and the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated its potential as the fastest route to developing highly effective vaccines. In this case study, BIA's report mRNA Revolution: A new generation of medicine explores Moderna's activities and its strategic partnership with the UK government.


What does the company do?

Moderna creates medicines that aim to deliver the greatest possible impact to people by using mRNA technology. The COVID-19 pandemic proved that mRNA was the fastest route to developing highly effective vaccines and since 2010, Moderna have been using this technology to develop and test a wide range of medicines that span a variety of therapeutic areas, such as infectious diseases, immuno-oncology and rare diseases. The speed, scale and flexibility of mRNA allows us to accelerate the discovery of new medicines, and get them to those who need them, faster.

Tell us about Government facilities in the UK and suppliers agreement

The strategic partnership between Moderna and the UK Government, signed in December 2022, will boost the country’s research and development capabilities with the construction of the Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre (MITC) in Harwell, Oxfordshire. This state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing centre will be at the heart of the partnership to develop and manufacture innovative vaccines for respiratory diseases. Production capacity at the centre can be scaled up in the event of a pandemic, offering the potential to develop up to 250 million vaccines per year, thus massively enhancing the UK’s ability to cope with and respond to future public health threats. 

Why set up in the UK?

Moderna is excited to be making a significant investment in the UK and is working together with a range of partners, to support the UK to unleash its full potential and cement itself as a life sciences superpower. Thanks to the UK’s thriving biomedical sector, Moderna believes that it is an excellent location to carry out research and development. Moderna are looking forward to working with leading scientists on the next generation of treatments and are committed to upstream collaboration, co-creating with partners, staying attentive to their needs, and maintaining a seamless partnership in clinical research. 

The work Moderna are doing in the UK would not be possible without the UK Government who recognise the importance and value of life sciences, the efforts of the NHS, world-leading scientific research institutions, a progressive regulator in the form of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) and many others. Moderna have already built close relationships with Merit, for example, a construction specialist based in Cramlington, Northumberland who are partnering with Moderna to develop a biomarker lab that will form part of the MITC. They are onshoring their supply chain in the UK as much as possible and look forward to more partnerships in the coming years.

What are your challenges?

The strategic partnership will operate at the intersection of the public and private sector and its success will hinge on the seamless collaboration between numerous partners, each bringing unique expertise and perspectives.

The skills shortage in the life sciences sector poses a challenge, particularly given the specialised nature of mRNA technology. However, this also presents a unique opportunity for Moderna to invest in the development of the UK’s talent pool, fostering the next generation of a highly skilled workforce.

The scale and complexity of Moderna’s pipeline of clinical trials will also demand careful planning with system partners. Moderna are committed to working with the UK Government to implement the recommendations of Lord O’Shaughnessy’s report on commercial clinical trials and to create a more innovative, inclusive, and digitally enabled clinical trial ecosystem.

 

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