Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNTech), the global immunotherapy company based in Mainz, Germany, is scheduled to ship its BioNTainer modular mRNA vaccine factory to Rwanda. According to BioNTech’s press release, the modular factory consists of six ISO-sized shipping containers that will arrive in Rwanda sometime in early 2023. Reports indicate that the modular units were manufactured in Germany and will be filled and finished by local partners in Ghana and South Africa.
According to reports, this modular mRNA vaccine factory will allow for the bulk production of BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in areas with limited technological resources. Each modular factory “is expected to produce 50 million COVID vaccine doses per year” that will be sold on a not-for-profit basis. BioNTech expects completion of this modular vaccine factory to proceed in parallel with construction of a “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Kigali, Rwanda,” which broke ground in June 2022. Additional BioNTainer factories may be shipped to Senegal and South Africa in the near future. BioNTech’s press release explains that these modular vaccine factories are intended to become part of a network to provide African nations with access to its COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition to its COVID-19 vaccine, BioNTech is reportedly “advancing mRNA-based vaccine candidates to address malaria and tuberculosis.” BioNTech initiated early-stage in-human studies for a malaria vaccine candidate in December 2022, and expects additional vaccine candidates to start in-human trials in “early 2023.”