BioNTech evaluates mRNA vaccine manufacturing capabilities in Africa

BioNTech will evaluate mRNA vaccine manufacturing facilities in Rwanda and Senegal to support vaccine supply in African states.

Vaccine manufacturing unit

BioNTech have agreed to evaluate the establishment of sustainable messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine manufacturing capabilities in Rwanda and Senegal to support vaccine supply for the Member States of the African Union.

Following the invitation of the kENUP Foundation, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission (EC) met Professor Uğur Şahin, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of BioNTech, in Berlin to discuss the development of sustainable vaccine production for Africa. The meeting resulted in a joint communiqué affirming BioNTech’s intention to manufacture mRNA vaccines arising from its malaria and tuberculosis vaccine development programmes on the African continent.

“We would like to thank all participants for today’s discussion and for the support and trust they put in us. Our goal is to develop vaccines in Africa and set-up sustainable vaccine production capabilities to jointly improve medical care,” stated  Sahin. “We are committed to investing in cutting-edge research and innovation to support vaccine development in addition to the establishment of manufacturing facilities and build-up of manufacturing expertise on the African continent.”

BioNTech has already started the evaluation of manufacturing capabilities, following the announcement of its aim to develop a well-tolerated and highly effective malaria vaccine and to implement sustainable end-to-end vaccine supply solutions on the African continent.

The decision to evaluate manufacturing solutions in Rwanda and Senegal follows the guidance of the African Union, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the African Medical Agency under formation. The prospective locations of the necessary manufacturing sites are expected to co-locate with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) upcoming Vaccine Hubs. These efforts will be aligned with the Team Europe Initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and medical technologies (MAV+) led by the EC in collaboration with the EU Member States.