German biotechnology company BioNTech has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) with the Rwandan Government and the Institut Pasteur (Dakar) to construct Africa’s first mRNA-based manufacturing facility in Rwanda next year.
The agreement was signed on the sideline of the Second Ministerial Meeting of the African Union and the European Union and follows the signing of a Joint Communiqué between the same parties in Berlin last August.
“We aim to accelerate the building of a GMP-certified manufacturing facility and plan to begin the construction on site in mid-2022,” said Sierk Poetting, COO of BioNTech.
BioNTech’s long-term vision is to develop and grow a regional manufacturing network to support the access to vaccines manufactured in Africa. The facility in Rwanda is expected to be the first node in such a decentralized African end-to-end manufacturing network.
The first production line will have a drug manufacturing capacity of 50 millions of e.g. COVID-19 vaccine does a year once operational. The capacity can then be further expanded with the addition of additional manufacturing lines and sites across the network.
While BioNTech sets up the facility and staffs it, the Rwandan Development Board and the Institut Pasteur will be building up the required human resources capacity and systems to take over ownership and operational duties as soon as possible.