Coronavirus

Moderna planning to double size of Norwood vaccine production facility

The company says the expansion will support a 50 percent increase in COVID-19 production.

JOSEPH PREZIOSO
Outside Moderna's Norwood plant. Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images

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Moderna is planning a major expansion of its Norwood facility in part to accelerate production of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, the Cambridge-based biotech company announced Tuesday.

Moderna said the expansion will support a 50 percent increase in production of COVID-19 vaccines. Production is expected to ramp up by the end of the year: The company announced plans last week to boost production to 3 billion doses in 2022.

The company’s current production and lab space is around 300,000 square feet, and the expansion would more than double its size to around 650,000 square feet thanks to planned renovations and the acquisition of a 240,000 square foot building nearby.

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Moderna described the expansion of the manufacturing site, which opened in July 2018, as a transformation “to an industrial technology center.”

“We believe that this investment and expansion at our technology center will allow us to continue to optimize our mRNA products as we explore new pharmaceutical delivery forms such as prefilled syringes and lyophilized products.” CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a release.

The release did not share how much the expansion would cost or when the expansion would be complete.

The announcement came a week after dozens of activists and doctors protested in front of Moderna’s Cambridge headquarters calling on the company to drop its patent monopoly on the vaccine so that global manufacturers can make generic versions for poorer countries. The vast majority of Moderna’s doses have gone to the United States.

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“So far, Moderna has one of the worst track records of any manufacturer in supplying vaccines to the Global South,” organizer Chris Noble told Boston.com last week.

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