The plane carrying the first batch of machinery and other equipment for BioNTech’s vaccine and drug factory from Germany landed at Kigali International Airport on Monday, in what is seen as a major milestone in the establishment of scalable mRNA vaccine production on the African continent.
The BioNTainers arrived in Rwanda from Europe aboard an huge Antonov plane and were received by senior officials. The are expected to help in advancing mRNA-based vaccine research were completed in December last year before they were checked for readiness to be shipped to Rwanda.
The Minister of Health Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana said that the arrival of the BioNTainers marks the beginning of the process by BioNTech to establish the vaccine manufacturing facility following the groundbreaking last year, adding that more equipment are expected to arrive.
“The BioNTainers which arrived today are a key component of what is expected from BioNTech in this journey to establish the vaccine manufacturing facility. There are other logistics still on the way but this is a major milestone in this process,”
“The experts are already here and we expect the facility to be up and running soon,” Dr. Nsanzimana said at Kigali International Airport.
BioNTech reached an agreement with potential collaboration partners in Africa to establish an end-to-end vaccine manufacturing network on the continent, beginning with Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa
The Germany-based Biopharmaceutical New Technologies is a next generation immunotherapy company pioneering novel therapies for cancer and other serious diseases.
Last year, BioNTech announced its plans to start mRNA vaccine manufacturing in Africa, based on a shipping container solution that it called “BioNTainer”. The groundbreaking event for the facility took place in June last year, and was attended by President Paul Kagame, different heads of state from across the continent and senior health officials.
The company also announced that its mRNA-based vaccine candidates for malaria and tuberculosis are expected to enter first-in-human trials early 2023.
BioNTech exploits a wide array of computational discovery and therapeutic drug platforms for the rapid development of novel biopharmaceuticals.
Its broad portfolio of oncology product candidates includes individualized and off-the-shelf mRNA-based therapies, innovative chimeric antigen receptor T cells, bi-specific checkpoint immuno-modulators, targeted cancer antibodies and small molecules.
Based on its deep expertise in mRNA vaccine development and in-house manufacturing capabilities, BioNTech and its collaborators are developing multiple mRNA vaccine candidates for a range of infectious diseases alongside its diverse oncology pipeline.