Celebrating a Year of Progress at Norwood
July 17, 2019
By Juan Andres
Chief Technical Operations and Quality Officer
and the Norwood Leadership Team
Happy anniversary to our Moderna team at Norwood! One year ago, we opened our digitally-enabled and environmentally-sustainable 200,000 square foot clinical development manufacturing plant in Norwood, Massachusetts, to help advance Moderna’s pipeline of mRNA-based medicines.
Designed to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) specifications, the site gives us the capacity to develop materials for preclinical toxicology studies as well as Phase 1 and 2 clinical development programs, and to manufacture, test and run fill/finish operations for our portfolio of mRNA development candidates.
A year later, we have so much to celebrate now that we’re fully operational. We are manufacturing many clinical mRNA batches as well as preclinical material in a completely digitally integrated way. We are vertically integrated—from DNA plasmid, drug substance, drug product, aseptic filling and quality control. We are also producing our personalized cancer vaccine here in Norwood.
Additionally, our plant has a lower impact on the environment by using 50 percent less water than comparable sites and we have reduced our overall waste. As our CEO Stéphane Bancel said in his blog post a year ago, our Norwood facility provides us with an opportunity to show how corporate social responsibility is central to our long-term strategic objectives.
Finally, we continue hiring and developing amazing talent, who have made the last year a tremendous success and position us well for the future.
To commemorate this important milestone, we asked Nicolas Chornet, Site Head of Norwood, and members of the site leadership team to pause and reflect on our shared journey over the past year and what makes Moderna special to them… here’s what they said:
Nicolas Chornet, Norwood Site Head
It is wonderful to see how we go from scientific concept to producing vials of investigational medicines that will be part of clinical trials for patients. The cross-functional teamwork between the Production units, Technical Development, Quality, the Digital group and many other functions, is amazing. The learning and effort that our people—the Moderna organization—put into every vial we make is incredible.
Matt Barrows, Director, Personalized Cancer Vaccine Manufacturing
Being on the Personalized Cancer Vaccine team has been, without doubt, the most exciting, challenging, rewarding and… personal time in my career. Working with such passionate teammates who have given so much of themselves to make one investigational cancer vaccine for one patient gives me tremendous pride. Knowing that we may have a positive impact for this patient and their loved ones is what makes Moderna special to me.
Dan Brock, Director, Plasmid
The thing that drew me to Moderna was the passion of the people here… everyone is so focused on the mission and making a difference in the lives of patients. It is rewarding to see all of the groups collaborating to make such a positive impact for patients and families.
Paul Chen, Head, Manufacturing Science & Technology
Moderna is an organization that prioritizes investments in Science and Technology. You can see those investments across Norwood operations and in the digital infrastructure underpinning all operations. As a career engineer, I can’t think of a more innovative and collaborative environment to drive the creation of manufacturing technology and enable the creation of novel medicines for our patients.
Kiersten DiChiaro, Head, HR Business Partnerships
I am honored to be working alongside so many talented people. I’m continually impressed with the resilience and tenacity of our employees. They are truly driven to ensure we do everything possible to bring new medicines to those in need.
Kevin Gerow, Sr. Director, Finance
I was excited about coming to Moderna and being able to participate in creating an incredible state-of-the-art facility. Having been in biotech for most of my career, it’s so gratifying to be able to work for a company that puts patients’ concerns front and center.
Bankim Patel, Sr. Director, Facilities & Engineering
Moderna is special to me because of the extraordinary people and the effort they put into delivering on the mission. There are examples each day of people living the values. Truly inspiring.
Steve Prescott, Sr. Director, Good Manufacturing Practice Clinical
I was initially drawn to Moderna by the science and the disruptive potential of using mRNA as a drug. What has kept me here are the people, the entrepreneurial spirit and the digital innovation. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with a world class team to establish our internal cGMP manufacturing capability and play a part in the design and startup of our Norwood manufacturing site.
Catherine Quintero, Director, Manufacturing
I’m proud to work for a company that is paving the way to revolutionizing treatments for patients. As Moderna has grown, we have always kept the focus on the patients, while creating an engaging work environment, with all teams working toward the same goals.
Roland Smith, Sr. Director, GxP Digital Systems
Moderna for me was an opportunity to build a legacy that improves patients’ lives and challenges the status quo in an industry that needs change. Building a native digital manufacturing site has been one of the most fun and challenging projects of my career. What made the project fun was working with the bold, relentless and collaborative people that made it all possible.
Tatiana Teixeira, Director, Supply Chain, Norwood
Moderna is special to me because of our mission—and the possibility of changing the future and people’s lives. I appreciate the way we treat employees and support cultural diversity.
Jennifer White, Sr. Director, Quality Assurance and Good Manufacturing Practice Quality Site Head
What we have created and achieved in the design and build of the Norwood manufacturing facility is so incredibly special and like nothing I have ever experienced. With the digital landscape and infrastructure and level of system integrations, combined with the overall building design that allows for incredible flexibility, it is by far breaking the mold of how things have been done in the past and making the impossible a reality.
Today, and every day, we celebrate our mission, our progress and our people in Norwood—and the impact they are making through their work and in the community. Thanks to the entire team, and our partners, for all that you do to make our Norwood facility such as special place.
Moderna’s Norwood site was recently named Facility of the Future by the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (IPSE) and is a finalist for the Facility of the Year Award, which will be announced in October 2019.