SPAIN – Moderna plans to invest around 500 million euros (US$520.60 million) in a new laboratory in Spain to boost its production of vaccines, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said, Reuters reports.

Sanchez wrote on his Twitter account that he had a meeting with Moderna vice president, Dan Staner, and heard about the drugmaker’s expansion plans in the country.

Spanish pharmaceutical group Rovi agreed early in the year a 10-year extension to its deal with Moderna to manufacture future drugs developed with the mRNA technology used for the US company’s coronavirus vaccine.

Rovi said the deal would include new investment to expand capacity at Rovi’s plants, without disclosing the amount of investment at that moment.

The pharmaceutical industry is an important part of the Spanish economy. In 2019, the industry generated nearly 22 billion euros (US$23 billion) in revenue.

In a separate statement, Moderna said it plans to set up a quality testing laboratory for mRNA vaccines in Madrid, which is expected to be operational in 2023.

Moderna also said the 500-million-euro (US$520.60 million) investment this year included its collaboration with Rovi.

The pharmaceutical industry is an important part of the Spanish economy. In 2019, the industry generated nearly 22 billion euros (US$23 billion) in revenue, according to Statista.

In terms of revenue, Spain has the fifth-largest pharmaceutical market in Europe and the ninth-largest market worldwide.

In 2020, the country exported pharmaceutical products worth 12.25 billion euros (US$12.8 billion), primarily to Switzerland, Germany, and France.

Imported pharmaceuticals were worth 15.33 billion euros (US$16 billion). Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium were the top pharmaceutical exporters to Spain.

Main pharma companies in Spain

In 2018, Spain registered 124 companies in the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and 205 in the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations, as per Statista.

Many global pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer, Novartis, Lilly, and Sanofi, among others, have subsidiaries in the Mediterranean country.

Of these, Lilly and Novartis generated the highest revenues in 2019, with more than 1.7 (US$1.8 billion) and 1.1 billion euros (US1.2 billion), respectively.

Among Spanish companies, the multinational Grifols, Laboratorios Cinfa, Laboratorios Esteve, and Almirall stand out.

Research and development

In Spain, the pharmaceutical sector spends more than any other industry on research and development. In 2019, pharmaceutical R&D amounted to 1.21 billion euros (US$1.27 billion), the highest amount registered in recent years.

Clinical research occupied the largest share of pharmaceutical R&D expenditure with approximately 714 million euros (US$746 million) invested, followed by basic research, pharmacoeconomics, epidemiology, and post-authorization studies.

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