BioNTech has inaugurated a new messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine manufacturing facility in Kigali, Rwanda.
The inauguration is in association with the establishment of a new digital modular manufacturing unit known as BioNTainer at the Kigali plant.
The unit produces mRNA-based vaccines and can be upgraded frequently.
The Kigali plant will initially have two BioNTainers.
The containers for the first unit reached the Kigali site in March 2023 and were installed in the manufacturing hall. This unit will be used to produce mRNA as a drug.
Formulated bulk drug products will be manufactured in the second BioNTainer unit, and prepared for delivery to the Rwanda site in the first quarter of 2024.
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BioNTech has funded the establishment of the Kigali manufacturing site and has pledged an investment of $150m to finish construction.
The company plans to conclude work on all buildings including offices, warehouses and quality control laboratories in 2024.
The 35,000m² site will employ 100 staff when fully operational.
The plant will conclude expert personnel training for process validation and commence production of mRNA-based vaccine batches by 2025.
The new facility will support a viable African vaccine ecosystem and equitable access to new treatments across the globe.
BioNTech CEO and co-founder Professor Ugur Sahin stated: “We are committed to building a sustainable mRNA vaccine ecosystem in Africa, focusing on the development of mRNA vaccines against infectious diseases with high medical needs and forging high-end technology solutions for local manufacturing.
“The inauguration event establishing the first BioNTainer module for mRNA manufacturing is an important milestone in this journey.
“Together with our partners, we are advancing towards our first commercial scale mRNA facility in Africa, as a cornerstone of our joint vision of a sustainable health future.”
In August 2023, the company acquired all the remaining shares of InstaDeep for €500m ($549m) in cash.
Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.
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