Moderna's “pioneering” new lab to be built by Northumberland construction firm

Moderna, Inc, a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA therapeutics and vaccines, today announced Harwell, a science and innovation campus in Oxfordshire, as the location of its Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre (MITC).

This milestone follows the finalisation of Moderna’s ten-year strategic partnership with the UK government, announced in December 2022. The MITC will encompass research, development and a manufacturing facility, which aims to provide the UK public with access to mRNA vaccines for a wide range of respiratory diseases.

The MITC will include a clinical biomarker laboratory that will be constructed by Northumberland based offsite construction and engineering specialist Merit. The Drug Substance and Manufacturing facility will be fitted out by Birmingham based engineering firm IPS.

Darius Hughes, UK general manager at Moderna, commented: “We are delighted to reach this important milestone – we look forward to joining the Harwell Campus health tech cluster and contributing to the UK’s science and innovation community through investments in R&D.

“When constructed, our facility at Harwell will harness mRNA science that aims to develop and deliver innovative vaccines to the UK public that address emerging threats from respiratory viruses facing our population.”

The Moderna investment will create hundreds of jobs during construction and operation. Construction will begin in 2023 and the manufacturing facility is expected to become operational in 2025, subject to local planning and other necessary approvals.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Moderna’s new Innovation and Technology Centre means NHS patients will have access to cutting-edge mRNA vaccines to fight against future variants of Covid, as well as other respiratory viruses, while also creating hundreds of jobs.”

Stuart Grant, chief executive of Harwell Campus, added: “I’m delighted that Moderna has chosen the campus as its home to grow its globally important life sciences research and development and manufacturing capabilities, a move which will boost UK innovation, and investment in this breakthrough technology.”

Tony Wells, CEO of Merit, concluded: “Our pioneering offsite construction methods are ideal for Moderna’s state-of-the-art medical research, and we have been collaborating over the past six months to develop an innovative, product-based solution that suits their specific requirements.

“We are looking forward to delivering the project at speed, leveraging the efficiencies and improved productivity we can achieve with our approach.”

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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