Budget 2022: Businesses like BioNTech setting up regional HQ here will create good jobs for S'poreans, says Lawrence Wong

BioNTech said last May that it will be designating Singapore as its regional headquarters for South-east Asia. PHOTO: BIONTECH

SINGAPORE - People looking for jobs in the biotechnology industry may soon get a chance to work in BioNTech, the vaccine maker that partnered with Pfizer on its Covid-19 shot.

The German company said last May that it will be designating Singapore as its regional headquarters for South-east Asia, and will set up an mRNA manufacturing facility here.

Delivering his Budget statement on Friday (Feb 18), Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said Singapore attracted more investments and innovative projects with the way it handled the pandemic.

"Our responses to the pandemic have distinguished us from other countries. We have kept our air and sea ports open, and ensured an uninterrupted flow of critical supplies. We have enhanced our reputation as a trusted and reliable node," he said.

"Singapore continues to be a strategic launch pad for businesses around the world looking to expand into new markets in the region," he added, citing BioNTech as an example.

BioNTech's new facility here is expected to be operational from as early as 2023 and will create at least 80 jobs, including roles in quality control, quality assurance and management.

The expansion plan is supported by the Economic Development Board.

"Together with other new investments and plans to build businesses and headquarter operations in Singapore, this will create many good jobs for Singaporeans," Mr Wong said.

The facility will boost BioNTech's regional and global supply capacity for its growing pipeline of novel mRNA-based products, he added.

Mr Ryan Richardson, chief strategy officer of BioNTech, said in a statement: "It's been our mission since the beginning to build a global immunotherapy company. Expanding our footprint to the first country in Asia was one important step in this journey.

"Singapore provides an excellent business climate, rich talent base and a growing biotechnology industry, giving the city a dynamic which we believe BioNTech can ultimately contribute to.

"We look forward to contributing our technology and expertise to the development of the biotechnology industry in Singapore and the region."

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BioNTech said the new facility will use cutting-edge manufacturing and digital infrastructure, and will be equipped to produce a range of novel mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases and cancer.

"The envisioned site will bring highly automated and end-to-end mRNA production capabilities across drug substance, drug product and fill-and-finish," it added.

The site has an estimated annual capacity of several hundred million doses of mRNA-based vaccines, depending on the specific vaccine.

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