Biotechnology company Moderna has selected Harwell as the location for its Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre.
The Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre development will encompass a research, development and manufacturing facility, providing the UK public with access to cutting-edge mRNA vaccines for a wide range of respiratory diseases, pending regulatory assessment and licensure.
The MITC will also include a clinical biomarker laboratory – a prefabricated modular laboratory constructed in Northumberland – which will then be installed on the campus.
Construction will begin this year, with the facility expected to become operational in 2025, subject to planning and regulatory approvals. The investment will create hundreds of jobs across Oxfordshire and the UK and will cement Harwell Campus as a national health tech hub for the pioneering research and development of mRNA and other nucleic acid therapeutics.
Interviewed for a piece for Harwell Campus’s website, Darius Hughes, General Manager of Moderna UK, provides more detail on the plans, which include three units. The first is a drug substance manufacturing unit.
It is a highly technical, computer run lab, capable of making high volumes of drug substance for vaccines.
The second is a research and development centre looking at early-stage research and development and helping provide support to clinic field trials.
The third part of the construction will be a biomarker lab. This is being made by a company called Merit in Northumberland and will be shipped to Harwell. That lab will be able to take samples from Moderna’s clinical trials across Europe and store up to 4 million samples. Those samples can then be used in subsequent testing of Moderna vaccines and medicines and can be shared with external organisations to use in testing.
Full details of Moderna’s move to Harwell Campus can be found here.