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German biopharmaceutical company BioNTech (aka the other half of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine) has announced plans to build its new regional headquarters, along with an mRNA vaccine production facility, in Singapore.
In its press release, the firm stated that the new facility will allow Southeast Asia to stand on equal footing with other vaccine-producing players around the world, especially important in the event another pandemic hits the region.
BioNTech plans to start construction of its Singapore HQ and vaccine facility this year.
IMAGE: AFP / The Sun Daily
Following completion, the company hopes to start operations as early as 2023, creating up to 80 jobs in Singapore.
“Having multiple nodes in our production network is an important strategic step in building out our global footprint and capabilities,” said Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.
“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.”
The new facility is being supported by Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB), a government agency tasked with handling the country’s innovation strategies and turning it into a global hub for, as the name suggests, economic development.
“The investment will enable Singapore to develop capabilities in an important new therapeutic modality as part of the strategy to grow our biopharmaceutical industry,” said EDB Chairman Beh Swan Gin.
“In particular, BioNTech’s mRNA manufacturing facility will contribute significantly to the region’s ability to address future pandemic threats.”
Why this is important, and why you should care.
IMAGE: The Straits Times
Southeast Asia isn’t home to any major vaccine-producing biopharmaceutical firms. And that void reared its ugly head when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with countries in the region getting their vaccines slower than, say, the U.S., for example.
When the vaccines are closer to home, this means we’re able to inoculate entire populations in Southeast Asia a lot more quickly and efficiently.
IMAGE: Reuters / U.S. News
This could also cut costs in terms of vaccine logistics, since governments in Southeast Asia won’t have to pay exorbitant amounts of money just to have them shipped over. This is important for countries that are still developing, especially the ones partially or wholly relying on COVAX to acquire enough vaccine doses for their people.
In the event of a future pandemic, Southeast Asia will be more prepared.
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ที่มา : Mashable