[Exclusive] Moderna to Break Ground on Shanghai Plant During CEO’s Visit to China for CIIE
Qian Tongxin
DATE:  Nov 06 2023
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
[Exclusive] Moderna to Break Ground on Shanghai Plant During CEO’s Visit to China for CIIE [Exclusive] Moderna to Break Ground on Shanghai Plant During CEO’s Visit to China for CIIE

(Yicai) Nov. 6 -- US biotech firm Moderna will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its Shanghai plant while its chief executive officer is in the Chinese city for this year’s China International Import Expo, Yicai learned.

Stéphane Bancel is visiting China for the second time this year after attending a signing ceremony in July to set up Moderna's Chinese headquarters in Shanghai. Sources told Yicai then that the company's investment would total USD1 billion. She attended the opening ceremony of the sixth CIIE in the city yesterday.

Moderna will build a plant in China to make respiratory disease vaccines, such as those against respiratory syncytial virus and influenza, and collaborate with top universities and scientific research institutes on clinical trials and safely bringing products to the market, Bancel said in July.

Moderna's Covid-19 messenger RNA vaccine is the firm’s only product approved for marketing. Building a plant in Shanghai indicates Moderna's strong confidence in China's healthcare market, and it is ambitious to take China as one of the driving forces for the company’s next growth stage.

Moderna is known for its pioneering work in the development of mRNA vaccines. In July, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company reached an agreement with Chinese authorities to develop mRNA vaccines in China for exclusive use in the country.

Waning demand for Covid-19 jabs will shrink Modern’s revenue in the next one to two years. But the company is expected to bring out 15 new vaccines in the next five years, most next year or in 2025, meaning that its income will likely pick up soon after hitting a low.

Which vaccines Moderna's Shanghai plant will produce is still unknown, but respiratory disease shots are the most likely to hit the Chinese market since the company has accumulated the most data on vaccines for respiratory diseases, including Covid-19, RSV, and influenza.

But industry insiders told Yicai that it remains to be seen whether Chinese demand for these products will be strong.

“MRNA is a future-oriented biotech platform, and Moderna hopes to make changes in disease prevention and treatment, including infectious diseases, cancer, rare genetic diseases, and chronic diseases,” Bancel said online last month at the International Biopharma Industry Week Shanghai.

MRNA technologies have greatly accelerated the development of drugs, but the cost to enroll clinical trial patients in the United States is growing. Moderna and its peer BioNTech entered China to access a huge market and tap the country's advantages in clinical trial efficiency to reduce the time needed to conclude clinical studies, an industry insider told Yicai.

Biomedicine is one of Shanghai's top three industries, boasting ample resources in terms of clinical research and trials and supply chain. Last year, four Class-1 innovative drugs developed in Shanghai obtained marketing approval, the most for any Chinese city. Three other Class-1 innovative drugs were greenlit this year.

Editors: Tang Shihua, Futura Costaglione

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Keywords:   New Production Base,Shanghai,mRNA Vaccine,Biotechnology Firm,United States,Moderna,China International Import Expo