Globe-trotting Moderna is investing $322M in new manufacturing site close to home

Moderna is establishing manufacturing footholds in far-flung outposts including Australia, Kenya, Canada and the U.K.

Now, the company is setting up a plant closer to home in Massachusetts. The Cambridge-based biotech has bought a new manufacturing facility 30 miles to the west in Marlborough.

Flush with cash from sales of its mRNA COVID vaccine, Moderna has spent $91 million for the empty 140,000-square-foot biomanufacturing building and the 24 acres on which it sits, the Worcester Business Journal reports, citing a county deed listing.

The company plans to expand the facility to 200,000 square feet for a total investment of at least $322 million, it said (PDF) during a Marlborough city council meeting earlier this month.

The city has agreed with Moderna on a tax increment financing (TIF) deal, which exempts the company from paying property taxes through 2026. Under the deal, the rate of exemption gradually decreases until the company pays a full assessed rate by 2043.

To receive the TIF, Moderna guaranteed that it would employ at least 200 people at the site. The company told the city it would hire technicians to perform engineering, process management, maintenance and manufacturing.

Moderna has not announced the move but provided a link to the city council agenda when asked to confirm the sale.

The company targets June of next year to complete construction of the site with an opening planned in September, according to the TIF application. Moderna will build manufacturing clean rooms, lab space, a warehouse and offices at the site.

The move comes as Moderna is rapidly growing. The company plans to add 2,000 employees this year, bringing its head count to 6,000.

Two months ago, the company identified Oxfordshire, England, as the site of its new Innovation and Technology Center, which it plans to open in 2025. That site will have the capacity to churn out 250 million vaccines per year.

This will not be Moderna’s first manufacturing facility in its home state. In 2018, the company opened a $110 million, 200,000-square-foot mRNA plant in Norwood, which is 25 miles south of Cambridge. Moderna also performs clinical manufacturing at a leased site in nearby Burlington.

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