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South African firm to make Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, first in Africa

Christian Fernsby |
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced the signing of a letter of intent with The Biovac Institute (Pty) Ltd, a Cape Town-based, South African biopharmaceutical company, to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for distribution within the African Union.

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Biovac will perform manufacturing and distribution activities within Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s global COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and manufacturing network, which will now span three continents and include more than 20 manufacturing facilities.

To facilitate Biovac’s involvement in the process, technical transfer, on-site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately.

Pfizer and BioNTech expect that Biovac’s Cape Town facility will be incorporated into the vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021. Biovac will obtain drug substance from facilities in Europe, and manufacturing of finished doses will commence in 2022. At full operational capacity, the annual production will exceed 100 million finished doses annually.

All doses will exclusively be distributed within the 55 member states that make up the African Union.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, which is based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology, was developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer. BioNTech is the Marketing Authorization Holder in the European Union, and the holder of emergency use authorizations or equivalent in the United States (jointly with Pfizer), Canada and other countries in advance of a planned application for full marketing authorizations in these countries.


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