Moderna to build vaccine plant in Africa

Facing pressure to supply COVID-19 vaccines to the developing world, Moderna says it’ll build a plant in Africa.

The company said Thursday it plans to invest about a half billion dollars to produce up to 500 million doses of mRNA vaccines each year – including its COVID-19 shot. It hasn’t decided upon a country or location yet but will decide soon.

It said the site will also include bottling and packaging capabilities.

Moderna will become the first company to build its own plant on the continent. It has supplied more than 500 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine so far.

In July, rival Pfizer and its partner BioNTech struck a deal with a South African company to make and deliver around 100 million vaccine doses a year.

While the companies are ramping up to supply vaccines, they're less willing to share their technology. Many Western drug makers received government support to develop vaccines, but they strongly oppose calls to transfer intellectual property to make them. They argue they need to oversee any tech transfer due to the complexity of the manufacturing process.

Shares of Moderna, which have fallen by a fifth in just the past five days, rose in early trading Thursday.

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