Moderna selects ARC campus as UK home

Moderna, a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, has selected Harwell the UK’s leading science and innovation campus, as the location for its Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre (MITC).  

The MITC development will encompass a research, development and manufacturing facility, providing the UK public with access to cutting-edge mRNA vaccines for a wide range of respiratory diseases, pending regulatory assessment and licensure.  

The MITC will also include a clinical biomarker laboratory -a prefabricated modular laboratory constructed in Northumberland which will then be installed on the campus. 

Construction will begin this year, with the facility expected to become operational in 2025, subject to planning and regulatory approvals. The investment will create hundreds of jobs across Oxfordshire and the UK and will cement Harwell Campus as a national health tech hub for the pioneering research and development of mRNA and other nucleic acid therapeutics. 

Darius Hughes, UK General Manager at Moderna, said: “We are delighted to reach this important milestone with Harwell and our lab build partners, Merit. We look forward to joining the Harwell Campus health tech cluster and contributing to the UK’s science and innovation community through investments in R&D. When constructed, our facility at Harwell will harness mRNA science to develop and deliver tailored, innovative vaccines to the UK public that address particular threats from respiratory viruses facing our population.” 

Stuart Grant, Chief Executive of ARC said: “mRNA technology has the capability to transform how we treat a variety of diseases and enhance UK resilience against future pandemics. I’m delighted to welcome Moderna to Harwell Campus, and our thriving health tech cluster. We’re entering a new era of medicine so it’s important that we deliver and build cutting edge facilities to reflect this and spaces that promote innovation and encourage collaboration.” 

Where world-leading commercial companies and research institutes sit side by side  

Harwell Campus, which is one of four campuses that makes up the ARC network, has a unique combination of expertise in the development of vaccines and mRNA technologies which includes: Europe’s largest collection of open access, publicly funded scientific facilities, such as The Rosalind Franklin Institute and the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator and commercial organisations including: Catalent, Vaccitech, NeoVac and Nanovation Therapeutics. 

Increasing available lab space  

Moderna’s new MITC will be made up of two buildings totalling 145,000 sq. ft. It is the next development to start at Harwell, and forms part of ARC’s wider growth ambitions, which will see an additional 3.7m sq. ft of development, to ease the demand supply imbalance for lab space across the burgeoning life sciences sector.