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Moderna Granted Biological Safety Permit to Expand Into Burlington

A pharmaceutical and biotechnology company that has become a household name for being one of the three companies to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is looking to expand into Burlington.

Moderna, Inc. was before the Burlington Board of Health on Tuesday night for a Biological Safety Permit to set up lab and office space in the Azzur clean room facility at 60 Blanchard Road.

Moderna was founded in 2010 in Cambridge and has since expanded into Norwood.

“We are excited about coming to Burlington and enjoying everything it has to offer,” a representative of the company told the board.

In a presentation, they said they will occupy and operate in approximately 11,520 square feet of lab space and 2,100 square feet of office space. This includes the use of 15 of Azzur’s clean rooms.

The hazardous material they will be using is E.coli, which will be used to research and develop new pharmaceuticals.

“Given its essential role, we believe mRNA could be used to create a new category of medicines with significant potential to improve the lives of patients,” they said. “We are pioneering a new class of medicines made of messenger RNA, or mRNA. The potential implications of using mRNA as a drug are significant and far-reaching and could meaningfully improve how medicines are discovered, developed and manufactured.”

“Obviously we’ve seen it with the COVID vaccine and we’re hoping that we can have an effect with multiple candidates in both vaccines and infectious diseases going down the road,” the representative added.

The presentation also outlined the safety procedures that will be in place. These include keycard access to all entrances, cleanrooms and waste and warehouse spaces and CCTV cameras located throughout the site. All visitors will be escorted while in the building.

Further, the company conducts safety training for all new hires and annually thereafter. Occupational health services, including medical surveillance, will be available through Moderna’s Occupational Health Office.

In terms of biological waste management the company adheres to the Massachusetts Sanitary Code. They also have a contractor to remove solid and sharps biological waste and a method of disposing of liquor waste that has it taken off site by specialists.

Members of the board said they were satisfied with the information they received. Chairman of the Board Dr. Ed Weiner said he was happy to have Moderna coming to Burlington.

“We hope that you’ll expand here,” he said. “We’re happy to have you here and thank you for what you did to help this country through the pandemic with your research development and how quickly you moved.”