Groundbreaking has taken place at the new Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre (MITC) at the Harwell Campus.

Prof Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency joined community leaders and representatives from the UK’s health resilience and life sciences community for the ceremony.

The MITC, which received planning permission earlier this month, will encompass research, development and manufacturing. It is intended to provide mRNA vaccines for respiratory diseases.

Darius Hughes, UK general manager for Moderna, said: “We are delighted to celebrate this important milestone today alongside our partners from the UK Government and Harwell.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration throughout construction of the Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre, and beyond, to bring innovative vaccines to the UK public to help protect against emerging respiratory health threats.”

The MITC will include a clinical biomarker laboratory that will be constructed by offsite construction and engineering firm Merit. A drug substance and manufacturing centre will be fitted out by Birmingham-based engineering firm IPS and is expected to become operational in 2025.

Dame Jenny said: “This facility will significantly strengthen the UK’s vaccine development and research capabilities, helping shore up our defences against future health threats, including pandemics.

“Once built, it will be capable of producing millions of vaccines against respiratory diseases and other illnesses, placing the UK at the global forefront of health science and innovation.

“Partnerships like the one we have with Moderna will help us remain agile in our response to health threats as they emerge, and the construction of this facility will help ensure the UK has a health protection system fit for the future.”

Image (l-r): Stuart Grant, Chantal Friebertshaeuser, Darius Hughes, Prof Dame Jenny Harries, Dr Mel Ivarsson, Nicolas Chornet and Dr Barbara Ghinelli at Moderna’s ground breaking event at Harwell.

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