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BioNTech starts construction of first mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa

Christian Fernsby |
BioNTech has reached the next milestone in the establishment of scalable mRNA vaccine production in Africa on its planned schedule.

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Construction works for the initial African mRNA manufacturing facility began in Kigali, Rwanda, with a target for the first set of manufacturing BioNTainers to be delivered to the site by the end of 2022.

The company expects to set up additional factories in Senegal and South Africa in close coordination with its partners in the respective countries. The initial site will become a node in a decentralized and robust African end-to-end manufacturing network.

All vaccines to be manufactured in the network will be dedicated to people residing in member states of the African Union.

During the event in Kigali, BioNTech provided an update on the joint establishment of mRNA manufacturing facilities and the development plans for BioNTech’s malaria vaccine candidates.

BioNTech will work with staff from its sites in Germany to accelerate the training of about 100 colleagues who will be running the production and all associated laboratory and quality assurance tasks on site.

The hiring of the initial local personnel is commencing now and will include about 20 roles, which can be found here.

The Rwandan facility, with a size of about 30,000 square meters, will be initially equipped with two BioNTainers (one for the production of mRNA, and one for the production of the formulated bulk drug product).

The BioNTainers will be equipped to manufacture a range of mRNA-based vaccines targeted to the needs of the African Union member states, which could conceivably include the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and BioNTech’s investigational malaria and tuberculosis vaccines, if they are successfully developed, approved or authorized by regulatory authorities.

The estimated initial annual capacity of e. g. the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be about 50 million doses.

Manufacturing in the BioNTainers in Rwanda is expected to commence approximately 12 to 18 months after their installation.


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