Pfizer and BioNTech have signed a letter of intent with The Biovac Institute, a Cape Town-based, South African biopharmaceutical company, to manufacture the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine for distribution within the African Union.
Biovac will perform manufacturing and distribution activities within Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s global COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and manufacturing network, which will now span three continents and include more than 20 manufacturing facilities. To facilitate Biovac’s involvement in the process, technical transfer, on-site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately.
Pfizer and BioNTech expect the Cape Town facility to be incorporated into the vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021. The company will obtain drug substance from facilities in Europe, and manufacturing of finished doses will commence in 2022. At full operational capacity, the annual production is planned to exceed 100m finished doses annually. All doses will exclusively be distributed within the 55 member states of the African Union.
“From day one, our goal has been to provide fair and equitable access of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to everyone, everywhere,” said Albert Bourla, Chair and CEO, Pfizer. “Our latest collaboration with Biovac is a shining example of the tireless work being done, in this instance to benefit Africa. We will continue to explore and pursue opportunities to bring new partners into our supply chain network, including in Latin America, to further accelerate access of COVID-19 vaccines.”
“We aim to enable people on all continents to manufacture and distribute our vaccine while ensuring the quality of the manufacturing process and the doses,” said Ugur Sahin, MD, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech. “We believe that our mRNA technology can be used to develop vaccine candidates addressing other diseases as well. This is why we will continue to evaluate sustainable approaches that will support the development and production of mRNA vaccines on the African continent.”
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Pfizer and BioNTech to produce and distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine within Africa. This is testament of the long-standing relationship we have had with Pfizer through the Prevenar 13 vaccine,” said Dr. Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac. “This is a critical step forward in strengthening sustainable access to a vaccine in the fight against this tragic, worldwide pandemic. We believe this collaboration will create opportunity to more broadly distribute vaccine doses to people in harder-to-reach communities, especially those on the African continent.”