A boost for Biovac to expand vaccine manufacturing in Africa

According to IFC, the investment injection for Biovac will help to reduce the continent’s dependence on vaccine imports. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will provide investment and advisory support for Biovac, a leading South African biopharmaceutical company, to support its existing product range of vaccines and expand its manufacturing capacity

Biovac produces a range of vaccines including cholera, HPV, various paediatric vaccines, and more. As one of the few vaccine companies with product development capabilities in Africa, the company supplies around 80% of South Africa’s routine paediatric vaccines and delivers millions to neighbouring countries. 

The company has now received a significant boost through US$7mn funding from IFC in an investment and advisory support package. This will go to supporting plans to establish a new multi-vaccine production plant in Cape Town, enabling the company to enhance its production capacity from 150mn doses to around 560mn doses annually. In addition, Biovac will target developing local capacity for the production of traditional bacterial-based vaccines alongside messenger RNA-based vaccines. 

Craig Mitchell, Biovac's chief financial officer, remarked, “We are thrilled to have secured our partnership with IFC. This collaboration epitomizes the type of support needed on the continent, to ensure focus not only on fill-finish capabilities and capacities, but also critically to advance research and development, drug substance, and ultimately to enable end-to-end manufacturing in Africa. We look forward to expanding the partnership with IFC towards realising the establishment of a large-scale facility capable of producing multiple vaccines on different platforms.”

This initiative from the IFC is part of the organisation’s ambitions to support and expand vaccine production in Africa as well as enhancing the robustness of the continent’s healthcare sector. 

Cláudia Conceição, IFC's regional director for southern Africa, added, “Africa produces only a small fraction of the vaccines it needs and IFC is supporting efforts to expand production on the continent, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. IFC's investment in Biovac will not only contribute to the growth of Biovac's vaccine manufacturing capacity but also play a crucial role in advancing the development of the vaccine industry on the continent.”