Germany-based biotechnology company BioNTech has announced plans to establish its South East Asia headquarters in Singapore later in 2021. In addition, the company will establish a mRNA production facility for the regional and global market, which will also have a rapid response production capability for South East Asia to address potential pandemic threats.

The factory will produce a range of novel mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases and cancer, with an estimated annual capacity of several hundred million doses depending on the specific type. The company anticipates that the site could be operational as early as 2023 and will create up to 80 new jobs.

In a press release, chief executive officer Ugur Sahin said: “Singapore provides an excellent business climate, growing biotechnology industry and rich talent base. We would like to thank Singapore’s Economic Development Board, which has been very supportive throughout our planning process and we look forward to contributing our technology and expertise to the development of the biotechnology industry in Singapore and this region.”

Dr Beh Swan Gin, chairman of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, welcomed the news, saying: “The investment will enable Singapore to develop capabilities in an important new therapeutic modality as part of the strategy to grow our biopharmaceutical industry. In particular, BioNTech’s mRNA manufacturing facility will contribute significantly to the region’s ability to address future pandemic threats.”

The announcement follows the establishment of BioNTech’s US headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2020.