The experience of Biovac, a public-private vaccine developer and manufacturer that was founded in 2003 in South Africa, gives a sense of how organizations move along this pathway. In 2021, Pfizer announced that Biovac would become a partner for manufacturing the Pfizer-BioNTetch mRNA vaccine for distribution within the African Union. Biovac had already worked with Pfizer and other international tech transfer partners, such as Sanofi Pasteur, for many years. This enabled the organization to improve its technical and scientific capacity. Biovac’s various collaborations included producing innovative, complex vaccines such as Pfizer’s polyvalent pneumococcal vaccine, Prevenar 13.
Continuing its progression via backwards integration towards the highest value activities in manufacturing, Biovac recently announced a tech transfer and licensing deal with the non-profit International Vaccine Institute, headquartered in South Korea, to manufacture an oral cholera vaccine. This project will enable the Biovac Institute to gain capacity to manufacture drug substance, a step in the vaccine manufacturing value chain that does not yet exist in Africa.
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