Moderna said Tuesday it has reached a deal with the Canadian government to build a “state-of-the-art” manufacturing plant in Canada to make Covid vaccines and potentially shots for other respiratory viruses after the country was plagued by supply shortages earlier this year.
The plant aims to provide Canadians with access to domestically manufactured mRNA vaccines against respiratory viruses, including Covid, seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and possibly other vaccines, pending licensure, the U.S. drugmaker said.
It is also intended to be used on “an urgent basis” to support the country with direct access to vaccines during health emergencies, the company said.
Moderna said it is in discussions with other governments for similar collaborations.
“We are excited to expand our presence and continue our long-term collaboration with Canada,” Patricia Gauthier, Moderna’s lead for Canadian operations, said 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 sciences ecosystem.”
Canada suffered from repeated delays and supply shortages of Covid vaccines this year as it struggled to obtain the shots from other countries that were manufacturing them. The issue forced the government to delay second shots for up to 16 weeks and advise residents to “mix and match” vaccines.
The Biden administration, under pressure from allies worldwide to share vaccines, announced plans in March to ship about 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine that it was not using to Mexico and Canada.
The supply of vaccines and pace of inoculations has since increased, Canadian health authorities have said, and residents have since gone on to receive their second doses.
Shares of Moderna were down about 3% Tuesday just before the announcement. The stock is up more than 360% year to date.