EconomyFirstFT: UK signs £1bn deal with Moderna

FirstFT: UK signs £1bn deal with Moderna

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The UK government is collaborating with Boston-based Moderna to build the country’s first manufacturing centre for messenger RNA vaccines in a deal worth £1bn as it seeks a lead in responding to the current and future pandemics.

The government is aiming to secure homegrown supplies of a technology that has proved crucial in the fight against Covid-19 and offers the potential to transform treatment for other conditions such as cancer.

The centre will manufacture up to 250mn doses per year, including some for export. The 10-year deal, which will be finalised this summer, also includes co-operation on research and development.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said the government had drawn Moderna with a long-term supply agreement for vaccines as well as the UK’s strong life sciences ecosystem.

“I think what this shows is that in post-Brexit Britain, when it comes to inward investment, and particularly in this case, the life sciences, the UK is the leader in Europe,” he told the Financial Times.

  • Go deeper: BioNTech’s chief executive has called on health regulators to decide by the end of the month whether to approve Covid vaccines targeting the most recent strains without first requiring clinical data, warning that “time is ticking”.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here is the rest of the day’s news — Jennifer

1. UK rail bosses push for job cuts Network Rail called on unions to accept almost 2,000 job losses as the two sides prepared to resume negotiations today after the largest transport strike in a generation brought much of Britain to a grinding halt. Do you support the rail strike? Let us know by voting in our poll or sharing your thoughts with We may feature your response in an upcoming newsletter.

2. Scholz aide points to future Russia ties Politicians in Berlin reacted with dismay after Jens Plötner, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s foreign policy adviser, chastised the media’s coverage, saying Germany’s future relationship with Moscow was “at least as exciting and relevant an issue” as supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons.

More on the war in Ukraine

  • In Europe: Russia has threatened Lithuania with serious consequences if the Baltic nation stops it from exporting EU-sanctioned goods to Kaliningrad by rail.

  • Opinion: Russia’s invasion has underscored the need for permanent Nato eastern defences, writes Henry Foy. Constanze Stelzenmüller argues Angela Merkel’s lack of regret illustrates the fallacies of her policy towards Moscow.

3. Kellogg’s to split into three food businesses Kellogg is splitting into three public companies, keeping its core global snacking business while spinning off the North American cereal brands where the Corn Flakes maker’s origins lie and a business selling plant-based foods.

4. UK weighs forcing Arm to pursue London IPO The government has debated using national security legislation to convince SoftBank to list Arm in London, as the Japanese investor reconsiders holding an IPO for the chip designer exclusively in the US.

5. Crypto exchange manager accused of illicit trading Chen Boliang, a former senior manager at Huobi, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, is being prosecuted in Hong Kong after accusations that he made $5mn by secretly trading against a company account he controlled.

  • Industry turmoil: Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive of crypto exchange FTX, has delivered his second bailout of a digital assets company in as many weeks.

The day ahead

UK-Gulf trade talks The UK is seeking a significant increase in trade while skirting the issue of human rights as discussions kick off with the six Gulf Cooperation Council states at the Arab bloc’s headquarters in Riyadh.

UK bill of rights Dominic Raab, deputy prime minister, will introduce measures before parliament that would allow British courts to diverge from human rights rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Elsewhere in the continent: The European Commission will formally agree rules that would allow it to impose trade sanctions against countries that breach conditions on labour rights and climate change in deals with the bloc.

Paramount Plus comes to the UK The company’s flagship streaming service, with hits such as the TV shows SpongeBob SquarePants and Yellowjackets and the Top Gun films, launches for £7 a month.

Fed chair testifies Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell begins two days of testimony in Congress by delivering his semi-annual monetary policy report to the Senate banking committee after the US central bank last week raised its main interest rate by 0.75 percentage points, its biggest increase since 1994.

Economic data The EU publishes flash consumer confidence figures, and the European Central Bank’s governing council holds a non-monetary policy meeting in Frankfurt. Consumer price indices are out for May in Canada and the UK, which also has producer price data.

Read more in our Week Ahead newsletter. Sign up here to receive it by email.

What else we’re reading

The big mistakes of anti-globalisers Globalisation is not dead. It may not even be dying. But it is changing, writes Martin Wolf. From treating trade as optional to overstating the merits of self-sufficiency, here are the errors we should avoid as we head into a new world.

The private equity groups that buy companies they own A growing number of privately owned companies are being bought and sold by the same firm. Such deals are partly a consequence of the tidal wave of cash that flooded private markets during the long era of low interest rates. But critics point to conflicts of interest.

A corporate feud over satellites pits the west against China In February, European financiers and entrepreneurs gathered for a late-night online meeting to resolve a boardroom dispute over prized satellite permits. At its core was the question: who controls an asset in orbit? Here’s how a clash of cultures and geostrategic interests sank a German-Chinese joint venture.

Anarchy is a likelier future for the west than tyranny The story of our species is mostly one of disorder, not too much order. Even now, the state, a recent invention, is patchy and provisional in much of the world. Janan Ganesh argues that the trend of events is not towards strongmen but towards ungovernability.

How boards can keep up with climate action expectations HSBC’s bus stop adverts. BlackRock’s investment plans. BP and Microsoft’s carbon offsets. Green policy is turning into the fast-fashion of business strategy, constantly evolving to meet competing demands. Pilita Clark explains how to navigate this shifting landscape.


Earlier this year, we published a rundown of private libraries around the globe. It promoted a flurry of responses regarding remarkable reading rooms. Here are some of your favourites.

St Gallen Abbey Library, Switzerland © St Gallen Abbey Library, Switzerland

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