Moderna is reportedly eyeing up the UK as its next location for an mRNA manufacturing and research facility.
Now, the Financial Times (FT) has reported that the US firm, which sprang to the forefront of biopharma on the back of the success of its COVID-19 vaccine, is in “late discussions” with the UK government to build a plant and collaborate with the NHS on clinical trials.
FT dubbed the investment as “significant” and said if approved, the deal would be part of the UK’s post-Brexit strategy to become a hub for the life sciences industry. The publication also claims the plant would contribute to the UK’s response to future pandemics.
Furthermore, FT said there has been concerns that patients in the UK could “end up at the back of the queue” for drugs and medicines due to the country’s decision to leave the European Union (EU). This has resulted in the UK no longer being a member of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and having to license their drugs individually for use in the country.
However, the publication said ministers maintain the NHS’s patient database can attract global companies by enabling them to exercise clinical trials quickly and cheaply. And that outside of the EU’s regulatory system, the UK has the potential to review applications at a quicker speed.
UK health secretary Sajid Javid tweeted the following after meeting Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel in Boston: “The UK is ideally placed to become a life sciences superpower, and collaboration with world leading companies is crucial to this.”
The report details that Moderna is considering the “Golden Triangle” as potential site locations, which consists of London, Oxford, and Cambridge. And FT noted the location will place the Boston-based biotech in prime position to conduct research into therapeutics and vaccines with experts.
BioProcess Insider has contacted Moderna for comment.