German vaccine developer BioNTech SE announced plans to build its Southeast Asia headquarters and first Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore, giving a boost to supply of its mRNA COVID vaccine.
The production site could be operational as early as 2023 and will create as many as 80 jobs in Singapore, the company said in a statement.
The fully integrated mRNA manufacturing facility will provide regional and global supply capacity of BioNTech's growing pipeline of mRNA-based product candidates. It will be equipped to produce a range of novel mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases and cancer.
BioNTech also said that its order backlog together with partner Pfizer for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines this year had grown to 1.8 billion doses, underscoring its role as a major global supplier of immunisation shots.
BioNTech reiterated that output capacity for the vaccine would reach 3 billion doses by the end of 2021, and more than 3 billion doses in 2022.
Rejecting the US-backed proposal to temporarily lift some intellectual property rights for vaccines in order to boost global supply during the ongoing pandemic, Ugur Sahin, the chief executive of BioNTech, said BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer had already delivered vaccines to more than 90 countries and more than doubled its forecast production capacity for the year.
Sahin said his company is working to further expand its manufacturing network with its own sites, such as the one now planned in Singapore, and through cooperation with other manufacturers to ensure greater supply while maintaining the quality of the vaccine.
But he also noted that rival manufacturers have their own shots either on the market already or in the pipeline.