BioNTech plans to start construction of African mRNA vaccine factory in mid-2022


Test tubes are seen in front of a Biontech logo displayed in this illustration taken on May 21, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

FRANKFURT, October 26 (Reuters) – BioNTech (22UAy.DE) on Tuesday signed an agreement with the Rwandan government and the Institut Pasteur in Dakar in Senegal on the construction of a first mRNA vaccine manufacturing plant in Africa from by mid-2022, to help the continent reduce health inequalities compared to other regions of the world.

BioNTech, which developed the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines in the western world with its partner Pfizer (PFE.N), will initially build a production line with an annual capacity of 50 million doses, which could also be used for COVID-19 vaccines, he said in a statement.

However, partners may decide to make mRNA vaccines against other diseases, such as malaria or tuberculosis, depending on future development progress and medical needs, a company spokesperson said.

This will be extended to a larger production network producing several hundred million doses of mRNA vaccine per year with the aim of transferring ownership and know-how to partners on the continent, the biotech company added.

“Our goal is to develop vaccines in the African Union and establish sustainable vaccine production capacities to jointly improve medical care in Africa,” said BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin.

The project marks a longer-term attempt to avoid a repeat of the health inequalities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference in the Rwandan capital Kigali, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said the initial site would be built in Rwanda.

The announcements add details to plans – unveiled by BioNTech in August – to build malaria and tuberculosis vaccine production sites in Rwanda and Senegal, limiting its search for African sites at the time. Read more

BioNTech added on Tuesday that the Institut Pasteur in Dakar of Rwanda and Senegal would build facilities for final production steps and bottling in a process known as filling and finishing, alongside BioNTech’s construction activities. .

The German group said it was also in talks with South Africa’s Biovac Institute about expanding their current manufacturing partnership.

BioNTech and Pfizer reached an agreement in July for Biovac to fill and complete more than 100 million doses per year of their COVID-19 vaccine for Africa, based on an imported active substance.

Also in July, he said he would seek to develop a vaccine against malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, considering production in Africa. Read more

Report by Ludwig Burger Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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