Moderna to build mRNA plant in Africa

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, Poli…

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Pharma’s been slow to adopt Industry 4.0 — but that could change

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The pharma industry has been relatively slow to embrace concepts such as Industry 4.0, but COVID-19 is serving as a catalyst for sweeping changes within the industry.

The philosophy has roots in a German framework that prioritizes digitization to drive manufacturing efficiency, promising that cyber-physical systems will usher in the next industrial revolution. The Industry 4.0 framework spans connectivity, analytics and AI and integrated automation technologies.

But the deployment of Industry 4.0–inspired technologies has been uneven in the pharma industry. “The industry is pretty cautious,” said John Younes, COO of Litmus Automation, the developer of an industrial edge computing platform.

Get the full story from our sister site, Pharmaceutical Processing World. 

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Report: New U.S. reshoring agency may loan billions for manufacturing

The head of the newly formed U.S. International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) said this week that the agency could provide tens of billions of dollars in financing to return manufacturing to the United States, according to a report by Reuters.

One of the projects it may finance is a $12 billion semiconductor plant from Taiwan, DFC CEO Adam Boehler told the news agency.

Working with the Department of Defense, the DFC recently launched a request for proposals from companies seeking financing under the Defense Production Act, which prioritizes government orders amid a war or national crisis. The defense department announced on June 22 that it will dedicate $100 million authorized by the CARES Act to boost medtech and pharmaceutical manufacturing in the U.S. The Trump administration has been pushing to return U.S. manufacturing to this country from China.

Boehler told Reuters that the new finance agency has received a lot of attention from companies, and t…

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