China’s drugmakers can’t sell mRNA shots but haven’t quit yet

SHANGHAI/SUZHOU, China, April 19 (Reuters) – China’s vaccine developers stuck with unused mRNA COVID shots and idle manufacturing plants are pursuing new targets for the novel messenger RNA technology, but they face a tough path, crimped by a lack of revenue.
Three Chinese companies – Walvax Biotechnology (300142.SZ),, CSPC Pharmaceutical Group (1093.HK) and Stemirna Therapeutics – came up with mRNA vaccines that won limited emergency approvals in Asia.
However, Walvax and CSPC are not currently manufacturing three of their China market shots, a China health official told Reuters.
And Stemirna said in July it had halted work at a planned vaccine factory in Shanghai, citing lack of demand.
Their setbacks come just as Moderna (MRNA.O), which developed one of the world’s first mRNA vaccines against COVID, is setting up manufacturing in Shanghai, with plans to launch up to 15 new mRNA medicines in the next five years, opens new tab and bring up to 50 candidates into clinical trials.
“At the moment China’s mRNA is still just taking off,” a spokesperson for CSPC said, referring questions on mRNA plans to a social media, post highlighting a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidate’s application for clinical trials.
Walvax declined to comment.