BioNTech to Build Covid-19 Vaccine Facility in Singapore By 2023

German vaccine developer BioNTech SE selected Singapore as its Southeast Asia headquarters and first Asia-Pacific hub, giving a boost to supply of an mRNA vaccine that’s been extraordinarily effective in fighting Covid-19.

The production site could be operational as early as 2023 and will create as many as 80 jobs in Singapore, the company said in a statement Monday.

The Mainz, Germany-based BioNTech said the planned state-of-the-art manufacturing site will support global supply of mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics and provide rapid-response options for Southeast Asia against potential future pandemic threats.

BioNTech’s Covid vaccine, co-developed with American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., has played a key role in easing outbreaks in major western economies like the U.S. and the U.K., and supply of the shot is high sought after across the globe.

The plan is a boon for Singapore’s long-term strategy to build out next-generation sectors of its economy, including biopharmaceuticals. It also stands to bolster the city-state’s business-friendly reputation, which has been tested in recent days amid tighter restrictions to combat virus resurgence and shore up the local workforce.

“With this planned mRNA production facility, we will increase our overall network capacity and expand our ability to manufacture and deliver our mRNA vaccines and therapies to people around the world,” Ugur Sahin, chief executive officer and and co-founder of BioNTech, said in a statement. “Singapore provides an excellent business climate, growing biotechnology industry and rich talent base.”

Beh Swan Gin, chairman of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, said the investment will especially allow Singapore to delve into an “important new therapeutic modality as part of the strategy to grow our biopharmaceutical industry.”

The Covid-19 pandemic marks the first time that an mRNA vaccine has been widely used and its stunning effectiveness is catalyzing research into how the platform can make a difference in other diseases from cancer to genetic conditions.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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