Nzimande excited about vaccine partnership between Biovac & ImmunityBio

The collaboration aims to develop capability in South Africa for the full value-chain manufacturing of vaccines.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande addresses members of the media in Pretoria on 8 March 2021 on funding discussions for prospective students for the 2021 academic year. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Biovac on Thursday announced a local manufacturing partnership with US-based immunotherapy company, ImmunityBio.

The collaboration aims to develop capability in South Africa for the full value-chain manufacturing of vaccines.

The first stage of this will be to locally manufacture ImmunityBio's second-generation COVID-19 vaccine, which is aimed at being more broadly protective against the virus and its emerging variants.

ImmunityBio's COVID-19 vaccine candidate is currently undergoing clinical trials in South Africa and the US.

Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande: "We are expecting that by the end of next month we'll be signing a contract with the company, Immunity Bio, which is owned by an ex-South African who trained as a medical doctor at Wits. He has been active in the industry of manufacturing products to treat cancer. He is now moving into the production of new vaccines for COVID-19."

Nzimande said that they were quite excited about the new partnership.

"Now we are having discussions with him to invest in South Africa. He's also doing a clinical trial for his own vaccine here in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. We are participating by virtue of having this clinical trial in Khayelitsha. We hope that out of that process whatever gets produced, we'll actually be partners."

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