Moderna halts construction on mRNA biologics plant in Kenya

The following is from The Vaccine Reaction.

Moderna, Inc. announced recently that it has suspended its efforts to build a $200–$500 million mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) biologics manufacturing facility in Kenya while it determines projected future demand for mRNA biologics in Africa.

Company officials concluded that, since the end of the COVID pandemic,  interest in COVID-19 biologics in Kenya and Africa has declined and is insufficient to support the viability of the proposed mRNA biologics manufacturing plant. Moderna confirmed that it has not received any orders for its Spikevax mRNA COVID biologic from Africa since 2022 and that previous orders for the product have been cancelled.

Vaccine Plant in Kenya Would Have Supplied Vaccines and Drugs to African Countries

In 2021, Moderna announced that they were partnering with the Government of Kenya to build a state-of-the-art mRNA COVID biologics plant in Kenya to produce up to 500 million doses of Spikevax each year. The company expected the new facility to initiate drug substance and drug product manufacturing for Kenya and other countries in Africa. In addition, Moderna stressed that the facility would have had the capacity to quickly respond to public health emergencies in Africa.

According to Moderna, orders for Spikevax that were cancelled resulted in over $1 billion in lost revenue for the company. Although Moderna was a major player during the COVID-19 pandemic distributing its mRNA COVID biologic globally, it has remained a relatively a small biotechnology company with Spikevax being the only pharmaceutical product approved for distribution and use in the U.S. and other countries.

Since the decline in the overall demand for COVID shots, Moderna’s revenue from sales of Spikevax is projected to decline to $4 billion this year compared to $18.4 billion in 2022 and $6.7 billion in 2023. The company has also experienced a drop in its share price by more than 75 percent during the past two years.

Moderna to Establish mRNA Biologics Manufacturing Plants in Five Countries

In 2023, Moderna announced its commitment to establishing multiple mRNA manufacturing facilities in Kenya, the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, which the company said was an effort to “furthering health security around the world.”

Moderna is developing a number of mRNA biologics, including a next-generation coronavirus biologic; a combined COVID-influenza biologic; a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) biologic, as well as mRNA biologics targeting latent viruses, norovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), multiple sclerosis (MS), and a subcategory of lymphoma in solid organ transplant patients.

Link to article here.

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