BioNTech Starts Production at New Covid Vaccine Plant in Germany

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BioNTech SE started production at a new Covid-19 vaccine factory in Germany, moving closer to its goal of boosting output in Europe by some 750 million doses a year.

The first batch produced at the site in Marburg, north of Frankfurt, enough for 8 million doses, is scheduled for distribution in early April, BioNTech said in a statement.

It takes only a few days to produce messenger RNA, the key ingredient in the vaccine developed by BioNTech with partner Pfizer Inc. But the test batch made this week will need to be purified, concentrated, mixed with lipids and taken to another site to be put into vials. The product will also need to clear the European Medicines Agency’s quality controls before it can be shipped to customers.

The Marburg factory is a key piece of a plan by BioNTech and Pfizer to boost production of their shot to 2 billion doses this year. Pressure is mounting on vaccine makers to produce more, in particular as the European Union moves more slowly on vaccinations than the U.S. or U.K.

BioNTech bought the Marburg site from Swiss pharma giant Novartis AG last year and plans to use it to supply the world outside the U.S. the plant is on track to produce as many as 250 million doses of Covid vaccine in the first half of this year, BioNTech said.

Meanwhile, a Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgium, that had slowed production due to renovations is also back to full capacity.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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