SINGAPORE: Vaccine maker Moderna on Tuesday (Feb 15) announced plans to set up a new subsidiary in Singapore, as well as three others in Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The new subsidiary will provide local presence to support the delivery of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics in Singapore, the company said in a press release.
Moderna said that it is “actively recruiting a team to build a strong presence in the market as the company’s mRNA therapeutics pipeline grows to benefit Singapore and the wider region”.
“The company’s plan to establish a local subsidiary reflects the strategic role of Singapore as a leading biomedical sciences hub,” it said, adding that Singapore offers a high number of skilled workers, government support for the sector, and a business-friendly regulatory environment.
Moderna did not reveal the number of people it plans to hire in Singapore. In response to CNA's queries, it said the jobs will cover a range of functions covering medical, regulatory, pricing, reimbursement, market access, government affairs and commercial operations.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said he is “pleased” to announce the company’s expansion into Singapore, referring to the country as “the biotech epicentre of Asia”.
“Like Moderna, the Singapore biopharma industry is witnessing an incredible period of growth. We are excited for Moderna to become part of that journey and to continue to leverage our mRNA platform to help solve health challenges across the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.
Bancel told CNA’s Asia First that the opening of the four subsidiaries in Asia comes as the company looks beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Most people believe Moderna is a COVID-19 vaccine company, but Moderna is a platform - we have this amazing mRNA platform - and today we have 40 drugs that are in development in different stages of clinical trial," he said.
"And so as we look at the future, we have this great portfolio, and it's the Asia region which is growing very strongly with very strong demographics.
"And so we asked ourself, 'Where do we invest more? When do we build long-term partnership?' That's why I'm announcing today we are opening subsidiaries in Malaysia, in Taiwan, in Singapore and in Hong Kong."
ASIA-PACIFIC AN “INTEGRAL” PART OF MODERNA’S BUSINESS
The Asia-Pacific region represents an “integral” part of Moderna’s business, which also has offices in Japan, South Korea and Australia, the company said in the press release.
Mr Bancel said: “2021 was a year of impact for Moderna, and I am proud to see continued growth in 2022 as we expand our presence in Asia."
“With the addition of four subsidiaries in Asia, we look forward to new opportunities to leverage our mRNA platform to help solve health challenges, including those with a high burden of disease in the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.
Moderna’s portfolio in vaccines and various diseases presents an “unparalleled opportunity” to use mRNA technology in Asia, the company said.
The biotech company currently has a presence in 12 markets globally.
Last year, Moderna and the South Korean government announced a collaboration to explore local opportunities for research and manufacturing in South Korea.
The company also has an agreement with the Australian Government to build an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Victoria, Australia.