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German drugmaker also plans to set up manufacturing facilities in Africa
As an extension of its Covid-19 vaccine efforts, BioNTech is launching a development project focused on preventing malaria, with a mission to create an effective mRNA malaria vaccine and provide sustainable vaccine supply solutions to Africa. This project is part of the “eradicateMalaria” initiative, led by the non-profit kENUP Foundation, that aims to to speed up the eradication of the disease.
The German manufacturer will assess various vaccine candidates featuring Malaria targets such as the circumsporozoite protein (CSP), along with new antigens discovered in the preclinical research phase. The most promising mRNA vaccine candidates will be selected for clinical development. The start of the clinical trial for the first vaccine candidate is expected to be by the end of 2022.
From a supply chain and logistical perspective, BioNTech is also exploring possibilities to set up mRNA manufacturing facilities, either with partners or on its own. The sites are expected to manufacture various mRNA-based vaccines upon approval to offer supply operations. BioNTech plans to co-locate its African manufacturing capabilities with the technology transfer hubs under development by the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside the African manufacturing strategy created by the Africa CDC. This strategy aims to expand the capacity of low- and middle-income countries to manufacture contemporary vaccines end-to-end, and scale up production to increase global access.