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Moderna Puts Kenya’s $200 Million mRNA Vaccine Factory on Hold Due to Lower Demand in Africa

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Pharmaceutical and biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Moderna announced a pause in its efforts to build a vaccine manufacturing facility in Kenya valued at $200 million.

This decision comes amid a decline in demand for COVID-19 vaccines across Africa.

The company stated they haven’t received new vaccine orders from African nations since 2022 and have faced cancellations, leading to significant financial losses.

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“Moderna has not received any vaccine orders for Africa since 2022 and has faced the cancellation of previous orders, resulting in more than $1 billion in losses and write-downs,” the firm noted. 

Despite this setback, Moderna remains committed to supplying COVID-19 vaccines to Africa through its existing global manufacturing network.

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“Considering the decline in vaccine demand and to align with our long-term plans, Moderna believes pausing construction of the Kenya mRNA facility is the most prudent course of action.”

While the Kenya facility is on hold, Moderna is actively developing vaccines for diseases prevalent in Africa, like HIV and malaria. However, these vaccines are in early stages of development.

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“These initiatives are part of our broader commitment to help address global health challenges through our innovative mRNA technology. However, these investigational vaccines are at an early development stage. Given this, and in alignment with our strategic planning, Moderna believes it is prudent to pause its efforts to build an mRNA manufacturing facility in Kenya. This approach will allow Moderna to better align its infrastructure investments with the evolving healthcare needs and vaccine demand in Africa.”

While Moderna prioritizes research and development of new vaccines (including cancer and RSV) with a $4.5 billion investment this year, it’s temporarily scaling back its manufacturing network to control costs.

Moderna expressed appreciation for the support from the Kenyan and US governments and looks forward to future collaboration on healthcare initiatives in Africa, potentially involving their mRNA technology pipeline.

In 2022, Moderna announced a $500 million investment in a Kenyan facility to produce 500 million mRNA vaccine doses annually for Africa.

The plan included bottling COVID-19 vaccines as early as 2023. However, due to declining demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Africa since the pandemic subsided, Moderna hasn’t received any new vaccine orders from the continent since 2022.

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Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu is a Tech enthusiast, happy to delve deeper into the African tech space covering Social Media, AI, Startups, Telcos, Cryptocurrency, Big Data, Women in Tech and all matters Tech. Write to me @[email protected]

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