AsianScientist (May. 11, 2021) – Singapore will soon be home to BioNTech’s Southeast Asian headquarters as well as a messenger RNA (mRNA) manufacturing facility, the German biotechnology company announced yesterday. With support from the Republic’s Economic Development Board (EDB), the site will enable the rapid production of mRNA-based vaccines and drugs—meeting medical needs across Asia and the world.
In partnership with pharmaceutical company Pfizer, BioNTech gained prominence last year for developing one of the initial COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use. Aside from the US and the UK, Singapore was among the first countries to approve the vaccine, which contains mRNA instructions for producing viral protein and triggering the body’s immune response to the coronavirus.
While vaccines are a key tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19, hurdles surrounding their distribution and access remain. By building up the region’s manufacturing capacity, BioNTech is set to enhance Southeast Asia’s capability to quickly respond to any future pandemic threats.
“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,” said Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.
Armed with cutting-edge manufacturing and digital infrastructure, the facility will offer automated end-to-end mRNA production capabilities. Aside from its COVID-19 vaccine offering, BioNTech also has a pipeline of mRNA products against various cancers, including cost-effective immunotherapies personalized for each patient and tumor type. Given the versatility of mRNA-based technologies, vaccines against other infectious diseases like influenza and tuberculosis are also in the works.
Once it becomes fully operational by 2023, BioNTech’s manufacturing site is anticipated to produce several hundred million vaccine doses annually. The regional office, meanwhile, targets opening as early as this year.
“The investment will enable Singapore to develop capabilities in an important new therapeutic modality as part of the strategy to grow our biopharmaceutical industry,” said EDB Chairman Dr. Beh Swan Gin. “In particular, BioNTech’s mRNA manufacturing facility will contribute significantly to the region’s ability to address future pandemic threats.”
Source: BioNTech; Photo: Shutterstock.
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