As the pendulum of vaccinating the world against COVID-19 begins to swing to developing countries, Moderna (NSDQ:MRNA) will build an mRNA facility in Africa that could produce as many as 500 million 50-µg vaccine doses annually.
Its currently authorized booster has a 100-µg dose of mRNA, but the company aims to use a 50-µg dose for boosters.
Moderna is prepared to invest up to $500 million in building the facility, which would house equipment for drug substance manufacturing and potentially fill/finish and packaging.
The company has not yet selected a site for the facility but said it plans on beginning the selection process soon.
While COVID-19 vaccine production is its initial focus, Moderna’s CEO Stephane Bancel has stressed that the company has grander ambitions. Its pipeline has 20 prophylactic vaccine candidates for a range of viruses. In addition, it has several other investigational therapeutics in development.
In related news, Politico reports that the Moderna has reportedly resisted calls from the White House to boost domestic vaccine production.