US biotech firm Moderna has chosen Harwell Science Campus in Oxfordshire for its new UK R&D facility. The campus is already home to more than 70 organisations and sits within the UK’s ‘golden triangle’, an area rich in life sciences facilities, between Oxford, Cambridge and London.
Other companies based at this campus include the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the Rosalind Franklin Institute, Oxford Nanopore, Agilent Technologies and Karus Therapeutics, among others. Moderna is already working alongside the UKHSA on early vaccine development for future pandemic threats.
Plans for Moderna’s Innovation and Technology Centre (MITC) were revealed last June and finalised in December, with the facility expected to create over 150 highly skilled jobs and the capacity to produce nearly 250 million vaccines each year in the event of another pandemic. The company has a target of being able to develop vaccines for emerging threats within 100 days.
The company aims to use the MITC to provide the UK with access to mRNA vaccines for a range of respiratory diseases. The site is also linked to a clinical biomarker laboratory in Cramlington, Northumberland.
The biotech will also run a number of clinical trials in the UK while providing funding grants to UK universities, in a ten-year alliance between Moderna and the UK Government.
Darian Hughes, UK general manager of 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.”
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