Pharma Focus Asia

Merck and Afrigen Biologics have entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on developing an mRNA vaccine technology platform

Thursday, July 04, 2024

Merck's Life Science sector has announced a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Afrigen Biologics to advance mRNA vaccine technology. This collaboration aims to enhance manufacturing capabilities, scale production, optimize processes, and provide troubleshooting expertise.

Bert de Vet, Head of Commercial EMEA Process Solutions at Merck's Life Science sector, emphasized their role in mRNA manufacturing, ensuring a smooth transition from research to production. The partnership with Afrigen underscores Merck's commitment to equitable access to life-saving therapies globally.

As part of the agreement, Merck will support Afrigen's Center of Excellence and training initiatives in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to produce mRNA vaccines and therapeutics. This initiative is part of a broader mRNA technology transfer program led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), aimed at establishing and validating an mRNA manufacturing platform in South Africa, with plans to transfer the technology to partner organizations.

The Afrigen-led mRNA vaccine technology transfer program aims to equip 15 recipient manufacturers in LMICs with the know-how to produce and distribute mRNA vaccines at scale. This effort supports clinical development, national/regional regulatory approvals, WHO prequalification, and sustainable supply to meet local and regional vaccine needs.

Afrigen Biologics, highlighted the progress made in developing mRNA vaccine technology, accelerated by Merck's technical expertise. Ike James from Medicines Patent Pool noted the program's collaborative approach in empowering LMICs to manufacture future mRNA vaccines.

Merck's comprehensive approach includes leveraging mRNA expertise, technology transfer capabilities, regulatory knowledge, and product portfolios to enhance manufacturing and testing capabilities, thereby contributing to global pandemic preparedness and resilience.



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