BioNTech, the German biopharmaceutical company behind the development of the COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer, has completed construction on its first “BioNtrainer” vaccine factory made from shipping containers. The six ISO-sized containers have finished construction in Europe and undergone quality checks by BioNTech experts. They are now being prepared for shipment to Kigali, Rwanda, where they are expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2023. The facility in Kigali will house the first BioNtrainer, which is expected to become part of a wider supply network spanning several African nations that will have access to the mRNA-based vaccine.
The development of the BioNtrainer comes as part of BioNTech’s efforts to address the significant disparities in global vaccine access. In February 2021, the company announced its plans to create a vaccine factory using shipping containers and send it to Africa as assembly kits. The BioNtrainer is a mobile, modular manufacturing solution that can be rapidly deployed in different locations around the world. It is designed to produce mRNA-based vaccines at a scale of up to 100 million doses per year.
In addition to its COVID-19 vaccine, BioNTech has a diverse oncology pipeline that 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. The company is also developing multiple mRNA vaccine candidates for a range of infectious diseases. BioNTech has partnerships with several global pharmaceutical companies, including Genmab, Sanofi, Genentech, Regeneron, Genevant, Fosun Pharma, and Pfizer.