A better geographical spread of vaccine manufacturing necessary, says CFO Craig Mitchell

Biovac has announced plans to increase its local manufacturing with the support of nine institutions.

A consortium of nine development and finance institutions has announced a partnership with Biovac to support its vaccine manufacturing expansion across South Africa and the African continent. This will not only increase Biovac’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, but also reduce its reliance on vaccine imports, which has historically posed some challenges.

“Covid-19 has proven that a more geographical spread of vaccine manufacturing is much needed globally, with the African continent having the least number of vaccine manufacturers,” explains Biovac CFO Craig Mitchell. “We are pleased that the consortium of funders is willing to work with Biovac to create sustainable African vaccine manufacturing, not only to respond to the current pandemic, but also to much needed routine vaccines and future pandemic vaccines as well.”

The consortium partners include the African Development Bank, CFC Group, the German development finance institution DEG, the US International Development Finance Corporation, European Investment Bank, the European Union Delegation to South Africa, the International Finance Corporation, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, and the French development finance institution Proparco.

Biovac aims to expand its vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa initially through its current activities related to the production of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine. This will bolster the global response to Covid-19 and advance long-term health security throughout the continent.

Biovac has also entered into an agreement with Pfizer in July 2021 with the goal to manufacture up to 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use exclusively in Africa.

In order to do this, Biovac and the consortium will need to raise around $150 million (R2.3 billion).