Pharmaceutical heavyweights Pfizer and BioNTech have agreed to partner with South Africa’s Biovac Institute to produce their COVID-19 vaccines at a facility in Cape Town.
First announced on Wednesday, this deal will see more than 100-million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines produced annually to be distributed to African nations.
Biovac had previously worked with Pfizer to produce its Prevnar 13 vaccine, a vaccine designed to protect against pneumococcal bacteria that most commonly causes serious infections in children and adults. Now, Biovac is expected to manufacture and distribute vaccines to Pfizer and BioNTech supply chains globally, according to Fin24.
The doses manufactured by Biovac will go to the African Union’s 55 member states.
According to a joint statement, Pfizer and BioNTech expect Biovac’s Cape Town facility to begin incorporation into the vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021.
Biovac is set to obtain the pre-vaccine drug material and substances from facilities in Europe. Manufacturing of finished doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will begin in 2022.
“From day one, our goal has been to provide fair and equitable access of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to everyone, everywhere,” said Albert Bourla, chairperson and CEO of Pfizer, quoted by Fin24.
“Our latest collaboration with Biovac is a shining example of the tireless work being done, in this instance to benefit Africa.”
“We will continue to explore and pursue opportunities to bring new partners into our supply chain network, including in Latin America, to further accelerate the access of COVID-19 vaccines,” Bourla said.
“We aim to enable people on all continents to manufacture and distribute our vaccine while ensuring the quality of the manufacturing process and the doses,” said Ugur Sahin, MD, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.
“We believe that our mRNA technology can be used to develop vaccine candidates addressing other diseases as well. This is why we will continue to evaluate sustainable approaches that will support the development and production of mRNA vaccines on the African continent.”