Moderna strikes deal to develop mRNA drugs in China
Moderna strikes deal to develop mRNA drugs in China

Nicos Pechiaridis | Nour Photos | Getty Images

modern On Wednesday, the company said it had reached an agreement with Chinese officials to research, develop and manufacture messenger RNA drugs in China despite tensions between the U.S. and China.

A spokesperson for Moderna told CNBC that the Massachusetts-based biotech company signed a memorandum of understanding and related land cooperation agreement to develop drugs “exclusively for the Chinese people” and “not for export.”

Chinese media CBN first reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources, that Moderna plans to make its first investment in China, which could be worth around $1 billion. The outlet also reported that Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel was visiting Shanghai.

A spokesman for Moderna did not confirm the report or comment on the size of the deal.

“These agreements focus on strengthening health security by targeting unmet needs and contributing to an ecosystem of healthcare solutions for Chinese patients,” the spokesperson said.

Moderna is trying to capitalize on the success of its Covid vaccine, which uses a platform called mRNA to teach human cells to mount an immune response against the virus.

Moderna has multiple contracts to export or locally produce COVID-19 vaccines for countries including Japan, Canada, Australia and Kenya. The deal, disclosed Wednesday, is the company’s first with China.

It’s also the first deal involving overall mRNA drug development, not just the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna said in May Keen to sell its mRNA Covid vaccine Came to China after registering a legal entity in the world’s second largest economy.

But the company and other U.S. companies have so far been shut out of the Chinese market.

Beijing has repeatedly insisted on using a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine for its population, even though their vaccine is considered less effective than those from Moderna and New York. Pfizer.

The country is also working domestically to develop mRNA technology during the pandemic. China only approved the first mRNA injection earlier this year.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday hold a meeting Talk to some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers about their business operations in the country.

include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, Merck, Sanofi and GE Healthcare Technologies. It was not immediately clear whether Moderna participated in the roundtable discussion.

Moderna’s deal comes amid tensions between the U.S. and China over issues of national security and heavy reliance on Chinese supply chains.The Biden Administration Takes Aggressive Action measure Diversify investment and trade away from China.

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