| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

Covid jab maker BioNTech to build SE Asia manufacturing site

BioNTech, the maker of Covid vaccines, announced on Monday that it will establish a Southeast Asia headquarters and manufacturing facility in Singapore, with the capacity to manufacture hundreds of millions of mRNA-based vaccines per year.

The site’s construction will begin this year, and it is expected to be operational by 2023, according to the German group.

“We will improve our overall network capacity and extend our ability to produce and distribute our mRNA vaccines and therapies to people all over the world with this planned mRNA production facility,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said.

The vaccine produced by BioNTech jointly with Pfizer of the United States became the first Covid-19 jab to be approved for use in the West late last year.

It is now supplying more than 90 countries worldwide, and is expecting to ramp up its production to up to three billion doses by the end of the year from 2.5 billion doses expected previously.

In 2022, the peak will reach over three billion doses.

The German company’s first mRNA manufacturing facility outside of Europe will be in Singapore, with a potential of several hundred million doses of such vaccines.

Pfizer, the company’s supplier, has manufacturing facilities in both the United States and Belgium.

BioNTech and Pfizer have established licensing and manufacturing alliances with companies including Merck, Novartis, and Sanofi in order to increase global production capacity for their Covid vaccine.

Both BioNTech and Pfizer have proposed that extending such collaboration, rather than a patent waiver as the US has requested, would help ensure a broader supply of vaccines.

Messenger RNA genetic technology teaches the body to replicate spike proteins like those found on coronaviruses.

When the body is later exposed to the true virus, the spike proteins are recognized and the body is able to fight them off.

Moderna, a pharmaceutical company based in the United States, uses the same technology for its vaccine.

  • AFP