BioNTech builds a Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing facility in Southeast Asia

10/5/2021| 17:41

Covid-19 vaccine company BioNTech will have headquarters in Southeast Asia and production sites in Singapore to make hundreds of millions of doses each year.

Ugur Sahin, co-founder and CEO of German biotech company BioNTech, said today that construction of the site will begin this year and could be operational from 2023.

"With this planned mRNA vaccine facility, we will increase our overall network capacity and expand our efficiency to manufacture and deliver vaccines and mRNA therapy to people all over the world", said Sahin.

BioNTech builds a Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing facility in Southeast AsiaVaccine vials of Pfizer/ BioNTech at a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Paris, France on 8/5. Photo: AFP

The Covid-19 vaccine, tested, manufactured and distributed by BioNTech in collaboration with the US multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer, became the first vaccine approved in the West at the end of last year. Pfizer/ BioNTech now supplies to more than 90 countries around the world, expected to increase production to three billion doses by the end of this year, compared with the previous projected 2.5 billion doses, and to more than three billion doses by 2022.

The production site in Singapore will be BioNTech's first mRNA production facility outside of Europe and has an estimated capacity of several hundred million doses of vaccine per year. Partner Pfizer operates production sites in the US and Belgium.

To increase global Covid-19 vaccine production capacity, BioNTech and Pfizer have established licensing and manufacturing partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies. Both BioNTech and Pfizer argued that such an expansion of cooperation would help ensure a broader supply of vaccines without giving up the patent as the United States would like it to be. 

The mRNA genetic technology trains the body to build mutated proteins, similar to those found on nCoV. Then, when exposed to the actual virus, the body recognizes the mutant proteins and can fight them off. The American pharmaceutical company Moderna uses the same technology for its Covid-19 vaccine.