BioNTech to Boost Southeast Asia's Covid Response by Setting up Vaccine Unit in Singapore

Covid-19 vaccine maker BioNTech is planning to set up its regional headquarters as well as a vaccine manufacturing facility in Singapore. The German biotechnology firm partnered with American drug maker Pfizer to develop one of the earliest Covid-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

BioNTech said its expansion plans were supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board. The Singapore manufacturing facility will increase the global supply of mRNA-based vaccines, the company said.

"Having multiple nodes in our production network is an important strategic step in building out our global footprint and capabilities," Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, said.

The construction of the manufacturing facility in Singapore will start this year, BioNTech added.

Professor Ugur Sahin
Professor Ugur Sahin, the scientist behind Pfizer-BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine Wikimedia commons

The center will provide regional and global supply capacity of BioNTech's mRNA-based product candidates and serve as "a rapid response production capability for Southeast Asia to address potential pandemic threats", the company added.

The facility, which will become operational by 2023, will also create as many as 80 direct job opportunities in Singapore.

The center will be equipped to produce a "range of novel mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases and cancer", the biotechnology company said.

The German firm also said the Singapore facility will be highly automated with end-to-end mRNA production capabilities across drug substance, drug product and fill-and-finish. It will have an estimated annual capacity of several hundred of million doses of mRNA-based vaccines depending on the specific vaccine.

Investment Amount Not Disclosed

pfizer-biontech vaccine
A lab study has suggested that the South African variant may reduce antibody protection from the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech vaccine by two-thirds. Pixabay

BioNTech did not disclose the amount being invested in the Singapore enterprise.

"With this planned mRNA production facility, we will increase our overall network capacity and expand our ability to manufacture and deliver our mRNA vaccines and therapies to people around the world," BioNTech co-founder and chief executive Ugur Sahin added.

Meanwhile, Singapore EBD chairman Beh Swan Gin said BioNTech's investment will help Singapore develop capabilities in an important new therapeutic modality as part of its strategy to grow the biopharmaceutical industry here.

"In particular, BioNTech's mRNA manufacturing facility will contribute significantly to the region's ability to address future pandemic threats," he said, according to the Channel News Asia.

Related topics : Coronavirus