Moderna eyes expanding mRNA vaccine study in new PH facility

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — US-based pharmaceutical firm Moderna on Tuesday said it aims to expand its study on new mRNA vaccines for rare diseases in its service facility that will be established in the Philippines.

Moderna senior vice president and general manager Patrick Bergstedt told CNN Philippines' the Final Word that the firm is "excited to expand the science of mRNA" in the country.

"This is a country of more than 100 million people. This is a region that unfortunately has seen many pandemics. COVID is not the first pandemic that Asia Pacific has seen. So we, as our mission, is to advance the science of mRNA to also work with the government on pandemic readiness so that we are better prepared," Bergstedt said.

In a meeting in the United States, Moderna informed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of its plan to set up a facility in the country, the firm's only shared service facility in Asia and the third in the world following Poland and Georgia in the US.

Bergstedt said Moderna chose to establish a shared service facility in the country due to the Philippines' experience of providing shared services and its promising workforce.

"You have a very experienced industry of providing shared services to a number of industries. There's excellent talent. There are people that have an excellent work ethic, great language skills," he added. "And so there's a very diverse workforce that we can tap into in order to create jobs, but also to provide the support to the rest of the Moderna business in the region.”

Malacañang earlier said Marcos expressed his gratitude to Moderna, telling them the project will give the country an advantage in healthcare.

Moderna is among the companies that developed COVID-19 vaccines, which have been distributed in the Philippines.