Moderna confirms landmark $1B agreement with China to create entire mRNA medicines

July 7, 2023: On Wednesday, Moderna stated that it agreed with Chinese officers to research, develop and manufacture messenger RNA medicines in the country, despite increasing strains between the U.S. and China.

The Massachusetts-based biotech company signed a memorandum of understanding and a related land collaboration deal to develop drugs that will “be exclusively for the Chinese people” and won’t “be shipped,” a Moderna agent displayed. 

On Tuesday, Chinese media outlet Yicai reported that Moderna was slated to acquire in China, which could be worth around $1 billion, quoting unnamed sources. The outlet also reported that Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel was seeing Shanghai.

“These agreements are concentrated on strengthening health security by targeting unmet needs and contributing to the ecosystem of medical solutions available to patients in China,” the spokesperson said.

Moderna is trying to capitalize on the success of its Covid vaccine, which uses a platform named mRNA to teach mortal cells to produce an immune reaction against a virus.

Moderna has several agreements to export or locally manufacture Covid jabs for countries such as Japan, Canada, Australia, and Kenya. On Wednesday, the deal disclosed is the company’s first agreement with China.

It’s the first exchange to involve developing mRNA medicines overall, not just Covid images.

Moderna said it was keen to market its mRNA Covid vaccine to China after registering a legal commodity in the world’s second-largest economy in May.

But the company and additional U.S.-based businesses have been shut out of the Chinese market.

Beijing has repeatedly insisted on operating Chinese-made Covid vaccines for its population, even though their shots are seen as less effective than jabs from Moderna and New York-based Pfizer.

During the pandemic, the government struggled to develop mRNA technology at home. China only approved its first mRNA shot earlier this year.

On Wednesday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said it discussed with some of the world’s leading drugmakers to discuss their business operations in the ground.

That includes Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, Merck, Sanofi, and GE HealthCare Technologies. It needs to be determined whether Moderna was included in the roundtable discussion.

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