BioNTech to Construct Manufacturing Facility in Africa

BioNTech announces its plans to initiate the construction of a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa mid-2022

In an announcement made by BioNTech, the company plans to initiate the construction of the first ‘state-of-the-art’ manufacturing facility for mRNA-based vaccines in Africa. 

Marking the next step for BioNTech and its efforts to implement a sustainable end-to-end supply of vaccine solutions to the continent, BoiNTech aims to begin construction in mid-2022.

The development plans resulted from 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 
  • Sierk Poetting, COO of BioNTech 
  • Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre 
  • Dr Amadou Alpha Sall, Directeur-General of Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Kigali, Rwanda

“I would like to thank all participants of today’s meeting for the support and trust to establish the first mRNA manufacturing facility within the African Union. Together, we will work on developing a regional manufacturing network to support the access to vaccines manufactured in Africa, for Africa,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech. 

“Our goal is to develop vaccines in the African Union and to establish sustainable vaccine production capabilities to jointly improve medical care in Africa. We have made great progress in the past few weeks, which will help us on our way to turn these plans into reality,” continued Sahin.

“We aim to accelerate the building of a GMP-certified manufacturing facility and plan to begin the construction on site in mid-2022. The MoU underlines that time is a critical success factor in the development of sustainable vaccine production for the African Union. We have finalized the planning and initial assets for the new facility have already been ordered,” added Sierk Poetting, COO of BioNTech.

BioNTech’s Plans for Africa

Following the meeting, the parties agreed to develop end-to-end manufacturing capabilities for the vaccine in Africa starting immediately. By constructing this facility, BioNTech could be facilitating the beginnings of a decentralised and robust African end-to-end manufacturing network, as well as enabling an annual manufacturing capacity of several hundred million vaccine doses.

Based on its expertise and learnings from the ramp-up of its own production facility in Marburg, BioNTech plans to implement a scalable construction network in Africa. To meet GMP standards, BioNTech will start with the construction and validation of the first production line that will enable the manufacturing of drug products for 50 million COVID-19 vaccines per year (once fully operational). The addition of further lines will continue to increase the capacity in Africa.

“State-of-the-art facilities like this will be life-savers and game-changers for Africa and could lead to millions of cutting edge vaccines being made for Africans, by Africans in Africa. This is also crucial for transferring knowledge and know-how, bringing in new jobs and skills and ultimately strengthening Africa’s health security. WHO is ready to work with countries to step up their commitment to vaccine manufacturing,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa. 

“By working together, in the spirit of this meeting, the African Union, the European Union, key technology partners, and other stakeholders, can make decisive contributions and effective coordination in the fight against this pandemic, and future health challenges," concluded Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

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