Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Sun City Anthem Community Center vaccination site in Henderson, Nevada, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
Roger Kisby | Bloomberg | Getty Images
SINGAPORE — BioNTech announced Monday it will set up its Southeast Asia headquarters in Singapore, and will build a manufacturing facility in the city-state to produce its messenger RNA vaccines and other medicines to treat infectious diseases and cancer.
The new site would be able to produce hundreds of million doses of mRNA-based vaccines each year, depending on the specific vaccine. The facility could be operational as early as 2023, the German biotechnology company said. It would allow the firm to scale up production for Southeast Asia to address future pandemic threats.
BioNTech co-developed a vaccine for Covid-19 with U.S. drugmaker Pfizer using mRNA technology which makes use of genetic material to provoke an immune response against the virus.
BioNTech’s expansion is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board — a government agency under the trade ministry. The venture is expected to create up to 80 additional jobs in the country.
“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 in a statement.
“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.”
Last year, the Mainz, Germany-based company set up its U.S. headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The United States has distributed 170 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The companies have started the process of seeking full approval for their shot for use in people 16 and older in the U.S.
Two shots are required, 21 days apart, and the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 illness in people without evidence of previous infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Since vaccination against Covid-19 began, countries have scrambled to secure access to enough shots to inoculate their population. Last month, the World Health Organization said wealthy countries have received the vast majority of Covid-19 shots, while poor nations have obtained less than 1%.