BioNTech (Biopharmaceutical New Technologies), the German biotechnology company behind the development of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, has plans to set down roots in Singapore.
This was announced by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on May 10 during a doorstop interview.
Ramping up production capability in the region
Chan revealed that BioNTech will be establishing its regional headquarters for Southeast Asia (SEA) in Singapore.
And with support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the company also plans to build a fully integrated mRNA manufacturing facility here.
This new facility will be able to produce a range of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases and cancer, and have end-to-end mRNA production capabilities across drug substance, drug product and fill-and-finish.
Its estimated annual capacity is several hundred million doses of mRNA-based vaccines depending on the specific vaccine.
With its location in Southeast Asia, the facility will also provide a regional and global supply capacity of BioNTech's mRNA-based product candidates, as well as a "rapid response production capability" for the region to address potential pandemic threats.
Chan added that the partnership with BioNTech strengthens the resilience of Singapore's supply chains to safeguard it against potential disruptions from other parts of the world.
"There will be new viruses that will emerge in time to come. And what we need is a strong R&D partnership to make sure we continuously evolve our products in a timely fashion to serve our local and regional markets.
And the mRNA technology is very exciting new technology because it has drastically reduced the time necessary for us to produce a vaccine compared to many conventional methods. So this will also strengthen the portfolio of different vaccine production technologies that we have in Singapore as part of the ecosystem."
Could be operational as early as 2023
BioNTech's Singapore office, as well as the commencement of the construction of its manufacturing facility is estimated to take place this year, subject to planning approval.
The company estimates that the facility could be operational as early as 2023, and will create up to 80 jobs in Singapore.
Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, said that Singapore provides an "excellent business climate, growing biotechnology industry and rich talent base".
Singapore strongly welcomes BioNTech's plans to establish its manufacturing facility here, Beh Swan Gin, Chairman of EDB added, as the "investment will enable Singapore to develop capabilities in an important new therapeutic modality".
This is part of the country's strategy to grow its biopharmaceutical industry.
Top photo from Pixabay