Health and Beauty

Moderna, Canada agrees to construct a manufacturing facility

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, listens during a press conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on Friday June 4, 2021. Trudeau said 65% of eligible Canadians received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

David Kawai | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Moderna said Tuesday it had reached an agreement with the Canadian government to build a “state-of-the-art” manufacturing facility in Canada to produce Covid vaccines and possibly vaccines for other respiratory viruses after the country suffered from supply shortages earlier this year.

The facility is designed to give Canadians access to domestically manufactured mRNA vaccines against respiratory viruses, including Covid, seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and possibly other vaccines, pending approval, the U.S. drugmaker said.

It is also to be used “urgently” to aid the country with health emergencies with direct access to vaccines, the company said.

Moderna said it was in talks with other governments about similar collaborations.

“We are very excited to expand our presence and continue our long-term relationship with Canada,” said Patricia Gauthier, Moderna’s head of Canadian business, in a statement. “With our industry-leading mRNA technology platform and rapid drug development capabilities, we look forward to being an active participant in Canada’s robust life science ecosystem.”

Canada has suffered repeated delays and supply shortages of Covid vaccines this year as it struggled to get the vaccines from other countries that manufactured them. The problem forced the government to postpone the second vaccinations for up to 16 weeks, advising residents to “mix and match” vaccines.

The Biden government, under pressure from allies worldwide to share vaccines, announced plans in March to ship approximately 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine that it was not using to Mexico and Canada.

The range of vaccines and the pace of vaccinations have increased since then, Canadian health officials said, and residents have since received their second doses.

Moderna shares fell about 3% on Tuesday just before the announcement. The stock is up more than 360% since the start of the year.

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