Moderna to invest $500 million into Kenyan manufacturing facility

The manufacturing facility will produce mRNA vaccines and plans to supply 500 million doses.

On Monday, Moderna signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kenya to establish a manufacturing facility in the country. The MoU was signed with the assistance from the US government. The facility will be the first of its kind on the African continent to manufacture messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. This will also include COVID-19 vaccines. The company aims to invest up to $500 million in the plant and to complete drug substance production for Africa. Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO stated, “Moderna is committed to being a part of the solution and today, we announce another step in this journey – an investment in the Republic of Kenya to build a drug substance mRNA manufacturing facility capable of supplying up to 500 million doses for the African continent each year.”

Compared to high-income continents, Africa has trailed behind in vaccinations. "We all know the challenges that Kenya and the entire continent of Africa went through in the earlier stages of this pandemic that resulted in Africa being left behind. Not because of want but because of lack and Moderna has come to fill that space," Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya's President stated in a statement. Last year, the World Health Organization established an mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in South Africa to educate low- and middle-income countries to manufacture mRNA vaccines and have tried to get Pfizer and Moderna to participate. BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer to produce the most widely- used COVID-19 vaccine in the western world, has announced their intentions to establish a manufacturing facility in the African Union in 2022.