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Covid jab maker BioNTech to build factory in Singapore

Construction of the manufacturing plant will start this year and the site could be operational by 2023.

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An exterior view of BioNTech's headquarters in Mainz, Germany, May 6. Photo: AP
An exterior view of BioNTech's headquarters in Mainz, Germany, May 6. Photo: AP

Covid jab maker BioNTech said Monday it would build a factory in Singapore that could produce hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines based on its mRNA technology per year in Southeast Asia.

Construction of the manufacturing plant and a regional headquarters in Singapore will start this year, and the site could become operational by 2023, the German company 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,” said BioNTech chief executive Ugur Sahin.

The vaccine produced by BioNTech jointly with Pfizer of the US became the first Covid-19 jab to be approved for use in the West late last year.

It is now supplying more than 90 countries worldwide, and is expecting to ramp up its production to up to three billion doses by the end of the year from 2.5 billion doses expected previously.

The pace will further accelerate to more than three billion doses in 2022.

Messenger RNA genetic technology trains the body to reproduce spike proteins, similar to that found on the coronavirus.

When exposed to the real virus later, the body recognises the spike proteins and is able to fight them off.

US pharmaceutical firm Moderna uses the same technology for its vaccine.