Moderna taps Kenya as site for $500M mRNA manufacturing facility

Moderna tapped Kenya as the country for its $500 million mRNA vaccine manufacturing push on the African continent.

The drugmaker said it inked a memorandum of understanding with Kenyan officials to build a state-of-the-art mRNA facility, which was first announced in October 2021. The site will focus on producing up to 500 million vaccine doses a year. The company said the plant will benefit all of Africa and in the future could be expanded to include fill-finish and packaging capabilities at the site.

Additionally, Moderna said it is working toward getting the plant built and operational to fill doses of its COVID-19 vaccines in Africa by 2023 depending on demand for the shots.

The exact location and square footage of the proposed manufacturing plant within Kenya weren’t disclosed.

"With our mRNA global public health vaccine program, including our vaccine programs against HIV and Nipah, and with this partnership with the Republic of Kenya, the African Union and the U.S. government, we believe that this step will become one of many on a journey to ensure sustainable access to transformative mRNA innovation on the African continent and positively impact public health,” Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief excecutive, said in a statement.

Bancel previously said the facility was unlikely to have much of an impact on the pandemic, as completion of the plant would probably take between two to four years.

Though COVID-19 has begun to wane in more developed countries where vaccines have become widely available, Moderna and other drug manufactures are anticipating future viral outbreaks while also developing treatments for other diseases.

Moderna has 20 vaccine candidates across its preclinical and clinical pipeline that are being developed to treat respiratory viruses, latent viruses and threats to global health such as the Zika virus.