Moderna Selects Harwell Science Campus To Develop Innovation and Technology Centre in the UK

Moderna, a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, has announced Harwell, the UK’s leading 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, pending independent regulatory assessment and licensure. The MITC will include a clinical biomarker laboratory that will be constructed by the 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, said: “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.

Tony Wells, CEO of Merit, said: “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.”

Mark Miller, Project Director at IPS, said: “We are extremely proud to continue as a trusted partner to Moderna, providing pharmaceutical engineering services for the new mRNA Drug Substance manufacturing facility. It is a privilege to be associated with such an impactful project and we look forward to collaborating within a highly motivated team to ensure a successful outcome.”

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.

“Harwell is already leading science and innovation in the UK and we look forward to the opening of this new mRNA centre.”

Minister for Investment Dominic Johnson said: “My recent visit to the Harwell Campus was a great insight into the brilliant and innovative minds that help make the UK’s life sciences sector the third in the world for number of inward investment projects. Moderna’s ten-year partnership with the government has made it a key partner in the UK’s journey to become a science and technology superpower. I greatly look forward to seeing this put into practice, boosting economic growth, generating high-value jobs, and supporting our NHS.”

Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UKHSA, said: “I look forward to continuing our work with Moderna as we strengthen our vaccine development and research capabilities, placing us at the forefront of new science and improving our ability to protect the nation from respiratory diseases and any future pandemics. Moderna’s new centre in Oxfordshire also brings an important boost to our UK life sciences economy and our onshore vaccine manufacturing capability.”

Stuart Grant, Chief Executive of Harwell Campus said: “mRNA technology has the capability to transform how we treat a variety of diseases and enhance UK resilience against future pandemics. 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.”