BioNTech SE has completed construction at a German facility for making a key ingredient in its messenger-RNA vaccines, the sort of investment that pharma leaders fear is becoming less attractive in Europe.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the milestone while visiting the plant, saying Germany needs to do more to help healthcare companies open such factories more quickly, along with developing new therapies and getting those products to the market.
“You can see and feel that this place is really the future,” Scholz said after touring the site in Marburg, a town located about an hour north of Frankfurt.
Scholz promised to try to improve the legal framework for healthcare innovation in Germany, including allowing better access to data for research purposes. BioNTech’s facility should bolster Germany’s capabilities as a hub for medical innovation and strengthen Europe’s medical supply chain, he said.
The €40 million ($44 million) project at the company’s Marburg site should be fully operational later in 2023, allowing BioNTech to make most of the plasmid DNA ingredients it needs for its mRNA-based drugs for cancers and infectious diseases.
Scholz’s visit comes in the same week that three of Europe’s biggest pharma company leaders expressed dismay that the continent is becoming a less attractive market.
BioNTech acquired the Marburg facility in 2020 from Novartis AG, which had used it to produce complex biological medicines, and repurposed it for mRNA vaccine production in 2021. The company has steadily added jobs at the site and began small-scale plasmid DNA manufacturing in August.
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