Famed Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna is set to open a vaccine research and manufacturing centre in the UK, the health secretary has unveiled today, in a £1bn investment.
It will seat the UK in a prime position in the development of new vaccines and therapeutics for a range of respiratory diseases, including Covid-19, as well as cancer, dementia and heart disease.
The partnership will also build more jobs for Britain as it recovers from the pandemic and navigates significant economic and geopolitical headwinds.
While it is unclear where the hub will be based, the Financial Times reported in February that Moderna and government were locked in late stage talks for a research facility in the so-called ‘golden triangle’ that is London, Oxford and Cambridge.
It follows health secretary Sajid Javid meeting with Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel in Boston, when discussions are thought to have continued.
According to the report, Moderna is planning on hiring people to run clinical trials within the national health service (NHS), in much-needed boost for the NHS.
Javid said the partnership will see NHS patients benefit from scientific breakthroughs and will ultimately “cement the UK’s status as a science superpower”.
Bancel, who has helmed the US biotechnology company for more than a decade, said: “We are committed to global public health, and as we continue to expand internationally, we are pleased to bring local mRNA manufacturing to the UK.”
Fellow pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca in April revealed that it too will be opening a new research centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Moderna is also based, as the pandemic’s main players splash their Covid-19 cash.