The European Investment Bank, in close cooperation with the European Union, is planning to support large-scale investment by South Africa’s specialist human vaccine manufacturer Biovac to increase development and manufacturing of vaccines and enable a quicker response to future pandemics.
The EIB’s first support for vaccine investment in South Africa is expected to increase annual production capacity at Biovac’s Cape Town plant to 500 million doses, enable manufacturing of viral and bacterial targeted vaccines and strengthen resilience to future pandemics in Africa.
Agreements to prepare detailed feasibility studies, finance preparatory works and commission detailed designs of the expanded vaccine production facility, to be financed by EUR15-million European Union grant support, have been concluded by Biovac, the European Union and European Investment Bank.
This is a key step to enable new investment at the Biovac facility in the coming years, expected to exceed EUR175-million and backed by South African and international financing partners.
“Africa remains highly vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases and to both the current Covid pandemic as well as future ones as well,” says Dr Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac. “Scaling up local vaccine development and manufacturing capacity is crucial to enable a quicker and more effective response to future health crises.
“The new EIB and EU support for feasibility studies and preparatory works will maximise the impact of large-scale investment at Biovac’s pioneering Cape Town plant and enable Africa to host a world-class international vaccine manufacturing facility. This is a key milestone in ensuring that that South Africa has the required vaccine manufacturing capacity to respond to both local and regional needs.”
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia De Lille comments: “We are excited for the support pledged by the European Investment Bank to Biovac. Biovac is listed as one of ISA’s critical Social Projects registered and approved into the ISA Pipeline.
“ISA is working closely with Biovac and the Western Cape Province to unlock an additional R260-million which will further aid in the expansion of Biovac as a manufacturing company for Africa. Biovac was also one of the projects highlighted at this year’s South African investment conference and is certainly a centre of excellence for vaccine manufacturing in southern Africa.”
“The European Investment Bank is working with experienced partners across Africa and around the world to improve health security and develop vaccines,” says Ambroise Fayolle, vice-president of the EIB. “The EIB is pleased to back preparation of large-scale investment by Biovac to transform Africa’s vaccine production capacity and strengthen resilience to future pandemics. The European Union’s grant support will accelerate technical and production preparations for future investment to enable 500 million doses a year to be produced by Biovac in South Africa.”
According to said Dr Riina Kionka, European Union ambassador to South Africa: “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted both the importance of a rapid response to a pandemic and local vaccine production capabilities to ensure equitable access to vaccines.
” The European Union is pleased to support future investment by Biovac through an unprecedented early stage EUR15-million grant support for project preparation and technical design, under the Infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa. EU support for Biovac demonstrates how South African, European and international partners are joining forces to strengthen resilience to future pandemics in Africa.”
Biovac is a bio-pharmaceutical company, based in Cape Town, that is the result of a partnership formed with the South African government in 2003 to establish local vaccine manufacturing capability for the provision of vaccines for national health management and security.