Renowned German biotechnology company BioNTech will start operations through its Rwanda-based factory on December 18.
Since 2021, the government of Rwanda has been working with BioNTech on the construction of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant for mRNA-based vaccines.
“Everyone is expecting the factory to be launched. That will happen before the end of this year, to kick-off operations in research of vaccines and therapeutics and vaccine manufacturing, though it will not be instant production as it’s a process that takes time,” said Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Minister of Health.
A memorandum of understanding signed between the two parties in 2021 led to the establishment of a BioNTech facility in the Special Economic Zone in Gasabo District in June 2022.
After months of serious work that involved the shipping and installation of BioNTainers (facilities equipped to manufacture a range of mRNA-based vaccines), the factory is now ready.
The Rwanda-based facility covers an area of about 30,000 square metres. It is equipped with BioNTainers (for the production of mRNA and formulated bulk drug products).
The plant is expected to start by producing 50 million vaccines, but production will increase depending on the demand.
According to BionTech, the facility is expected to become the first node in a decentralised and robust end-to-end manufacturing network in Africa.
BioNTech is also pursuing facility developments in Senegal and South Africa, in close coordination with each country.
Vaccines from such infrastructures will be intended for people residing in member states of the African Union, with the aim to support access to novel medicines.
BioNTech is advancing mRNA-based vaccine candidates to address malaria and tuberculosis based on the Company’s mRNA platform.