Moderna Set to Invest $1 Billion in China, Yicai Reports

Bloomberg NewsWed, July 5, 2023, 1:07 AM EDTIn this article: 

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(Bloomberg) — Moderna Inc. is set to announce its first investment in China as early as Wednesday as heightened geopolitical tensions puts the spotlight on the Asian nation’s efforts to rebuild ties with foreign firms.

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The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company that developed a messenger RNA vaccine for Covid-19 may reveal multiple projects in China with a total investment size of around $1 billion, local media outlet Yicai reported Tuesday, citing sources it didn’t identify. The drugmaker is also actively seeking communication with Chinese regulators, it said, without providing more detail.Moderna, Inc. (MRNA)View quote detailsNasdaqGS – Nasdaq Real Time Price (USD)125.52+3.79(+3.11%)As of 11:03AM EDT.Market open.Add to watchlist

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Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel is in Shanghai and will attend the investment signing ceremony, according to the report. Bancel said during a visit in April that the company will speed up investment in the city and is looking to work with Chinese partners to develop new technologies and products, Yicai reported.

A representative for Moderna didn’t respond to Bloomberg News requests for comment on the report.

The potential investment from the vaccine powerhouse comes just days ahead of a high—profile visit to China by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as the US seeks to mend ties and reinstate lines of communication with officials in Beijing.

Tensions between the world’s two biggest economies have escalated over a range of issues from national security to a heavy reliance on Chinese supply chains. That’s seen the US take increasingly aggressive measures, including plans by President Joe Biden’s administration to regulate and potentially cut off US corporate investment in the Asian country in sensitive technologies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures as he meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023.  REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool
Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures as he meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 19, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool

For its part, China has been rolling out the red carpet for global business leaders to try and ease concerns around unpredictable policy making that’s deterred foreign investment. President Xi Jinping this week urged nations to spurn decoupling and the severing of supply chains, in contrast to a government decision on Monday to subject two key metals used in chips to export controls.

China has also struggled to make strides in developing mRNA technology at home. The country barred mRNA Covid vaccines, including those made by Moderna, from the mainland in an effort to spur the creation of shots domestically and only granted emergency-use approval for one earlier this year — months after Beijing scrapped virus curbs and unleashed a record wave of infections.

Moderna started a biotechnology company in China this May with registered capital of $100 million, and said it is exploring market opportunities to bring the mRNA platform to China, according to Yicai.

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