German biotechnology company BioNTech said that it plans to set up a regional headquarters and build a new manufacturing site for its vaccines based on messenger RNA technology (mRNA) in Singapore, in the latest move to expand its production network.
An mRNA vaccine acts by teaching our cells how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine, made in collaboration with American drugmaker Pfizer, is being used across the world.
The biotech company said the Singapore production facility will have an estimated annual capacity of several hundred million doses of mRNA-based vaccines depending on the specific type, once it is operational in 2023.
BioNTech said its expansion plans were supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board and would increase the global supply of mRNA-based vaccines and establish a production facility in south east Asia to respond rapidly to future pandemics.
“Having multiple nodes in our production network is an important strategic step in building out our global footprint and capabilities,” said Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech.
Governments around the world are looking to build up local vaccine production to secure access to supplies after manufacturing setbacks have slowed the rollout of COVID-19 doses in some countries.
BioNTech plans to open the Singapore office in 2021 and expects the manufacturing site to be operational by 2023, creating up to 80 jobs in Singapore. The establishment of a southeast Asia regional hub comes after BioNTech, based in Mainz, set up a US headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2020.