BioNTech Begins Construction Of First MRNA Vaccine Production Site In Africa

BioNTech SE (BNTX), a German biotechnology firm, said on Thursday that it has started construction of the first African mRNA vaccine manufacturing site in Kigali of Rwanda, with the goal of delivering the first batch of manufacturing BioNTainers to the site by the end of 2022.

The Rwandan facility, with a size of about 30,000 square meters, will be equipped with two BioNTainers, which will produce a range of mRNA-based vaccines including Covid-19, malaria, and others targeted to the needs of the African Union member states.

The vaccines that will be produced include Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and BioNTech's investigational malaria and tuberculosis vaccines, upon approval or authorization by regulatory authorities.

The estimated initial annual capacity of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will be about 50 million doses, the company said in a statement.

Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said: "…This factory will be the first in an African network to provide sustainable production capacity for mRNA pharmaceuticals. Further manufacturing facilities in Africa and on other continents are planned to follow. The goal we pursue together with governments and regulatory authorities is to produce vaccines for Africa here with highly skilled professionals from Africa."

With a focus on the people of African Union, BioNTech also expects to set up additional factories in Senegal and South Africa in close coordination with its partners in the respective countries.

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