BioNTech announced plans to initiate the construction of the first manufacturing site for mRNA based vaccines in Africa in mid 2022.
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This is the next step in BioNTech’s efforts to implement sustainable end to end vaccine supply solutions on the African continent.
The decision is the result of a meeting between Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr Daniel M. Ngamije, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Aïssata Tall Sall, Ugur Sahin, M.D.,CEO and Co Founder of BioNTech and Sierk Poetting, COO of BioNTech as well as Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre and Dr Amadou Alpha Sall, Directeur General of Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Kigali, Rwanda.
The meeting occurred upon the invitation of the kENUP Foundation and took place as a side event of the Second Ministerial Meeting of the African Union and the European Union and resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
This comes after the parties signed a Joint Communiqué at a previous meeting in Berlin on August 27, 2021.
The parties agree to jointly establish end to end manufacturing capacities for mRNA based vaccines in Africa starting immediately. BioNTech has finalized the construction plans and ordered the assets, which will be delivered by mid 2022.
The new manufacturing facility could become the first node in a decentralized and robust African end to end manufacturing network enabling an annual manufacturing capacity of several hundreds of million mRNA vaccine doses.
BioNTech plans to develop and implement a scalable construction network based on the expertise and learnings from the ramp up of the Company’s production facility in Marburg.
To enable an expedient set up of production capacities according to GMP standards, BioNTech will start with the construction and validation of a first production line enabling the manufacturing of drug product for about 50 million of e.g. COVID 19 vaccine doses per year, once fully operational.
The capacity will be increased sequentially by adding further manufacturing lines and sites to the manufacturing network on the continent, supporting the production of several hundreds of millions of mRNA vaccine doses.
BioNTech will initially staff, own and operate the facility to support the safe and rapid initiation of the production of mRNA based vaccine doses. BioNTech plans to transfer manufacturing capacities and the know how to local partners.
Therefore, BioNTech, the Rwanda Development Board and Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal agreed to swiftly build up the required human resources capacity and systems so that the partners can take over ownership and operational duties.
In parallel, the Republic of Rwanda and the Institut Pasteur de Dakar have committed themselves to scale up fill and finish capacities to complete the local end to end manufacturing process.
In addition, BioNTech is in discussions about an expansion of the current partnership with Cape Town based vaccine manufacturer Biovac, which is part of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine manufaturing network. ■
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