Pfizer Transfers Vaccine Technology for Production in South Africa

Nov 05, 2015
By BioPharm International Editors

South Africa’s Biovac Institute, which develops and produces vaccines for the country, launched a public-private partnership with Pfizer to enable local manufacturing of a vaccine against pneumonia-causing bacteria, the South African government announced in a Nov. 3, 2015 press release. Prevenar 13, which has proven to be effective in preventing pneumococcal infection in children from six weeks to five years and in adults of 50 years and older, will be manufactured at Biovac's new commercial-scale facility in Cape Town, with production due to start in 2020.

"This demonstration of successful technology transfer with Pfizer is one of the prerequisites for unlocking future technology transfers that will see Biovac becoming the major vaccine manufacturer in Africa," said South African Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor in the press release. The Minister said this strategy would alleviate South Africa's continued dependence on imports and the consequent threat to security of supply of essential vaccines.

"Preventing pneumococcal disease is a priority for Pfizer in South Africa,” said Jennifer Power, the South African country manager for Pfizer, in the release. “We have already seen great results since vaccination was introduced and we are pleased to partner with Biovac, sharing best practices, knowledge, and skills to continue to make a real difference for patients. We are confident that this partnership will help ensure the sustainable supply of our pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for patients in South Africa."

Biovac CEO Dr Morena Makhoana said the company is committed to developing and establishing a strong and locally relevant vaccine capability, specifically vaccine process and product development in South Africa. “We believe that this partnership with Pfizer will strengthen our ability to deliver a potentially life-saving vaccine for South African children, as well as accelerate our technological knowledge in vaccine development."

"The launch of the local manufacture of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is a stepping stone to the ultimate dream of developing our own vaccines on the continent, for the continent," added Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, in the release.

The partnership facilitates technology transfer from Pfizer to Biovac in compliance with international GMP standards. The process involves the formulation (combining 13 different strains or serotypes of Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria) and filling a syringe with this combination vaccine. These prefilled syringes will be a new technology for Biovac. Pfizer will also implement a skills-transfer process that will result in Biovac employees being able to continue with manufacturing the vaccines after the transfer period. 

Source: South African Government News Agency 

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