Fosun unit, BioNTech in China project deal
A unit of a Chinese giant Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical has agreed a US$200 million joint-venture with Germany’s BioNTech to make coronavirus vaccines, according to a company filing.
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Industry Development will contribute up to US$100 million in assets including cash and a manufacturing facility, capable of producing up to a billion jabs a year, according to the statement by the parent company on Sunday.
Fosun said the joint venture firm for manufacturing and commercializing coronavirus vaccines will be owned 50 percent by each company. The 15-year joint venture would be incorporated in Shanghai.
BioNTech will contribute assets such as “licensing of the relevant manufacturing technology and know-how,” the statement said.
BioNTech and Pfizer are jointly commercializing the vaccine worldwide, excluding China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan. BioNTech and Fosun Pharma have done clinical trials in China but the vaccine has yet to be granted approval here. The venture marks a step closer for China to have localized manufacturing capability for the German firm’s vaccine.
BioNTech also plans to set up a regional center and a new factory in Singapore for its vaccines, boosting its presence in Asia.
The Singapore facility will “address potential pandemic threats” in southeast Asia and will increase BioNTech’s global supply capacity of product candidates, also beyond vaccines, based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, BioNTech said.
MRNA vaccines, like BioNTech and Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot, prompt the human body to make a protein that is part of the virus, triggering an immune response.
The German biotech company said the Singapore factory will have an estimated annual capacity of several hundred million doses of its mRNA vaccines depending on the specific type.
“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. He said that the investment amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars, declining to be more specific.