KENYA— The establishment of the BioVax Institute manufacturing facility in conjunction with Bio Farma, an end-to-end vaccine manufacturing facility, will be East Africa’s first vaccine and therapeutics manufacturer. 

This visit to Konza Metropolis by BioVax officials and Jerome Kim, Director General of the International Vaccine Institute, followed a previous one on December 21, 2023, which aimed to review the state of Phase 1 infrastructure building efforts.

Among the first-phase tasks were the establishment of a waste treatment plant, waste water reclamation, automatic waste collection, utilities and utility tunnels, landscaping and parks, an electrical system, ICT, and a national data center.

 Furthermore, the Kenyan government has funded up to Sh2 billion (US$13.85 million) in the BioVax effort, emphasizing its relevance in vaccine production, according to a local dairy, the Standard.

BioVax will cooperate with a variety of research organizations, universities, and key partners to create and develop breakthrough vaccination technologies and clinical platforms.

This breakthrough comes after Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s visit to Nairobi in August 2022, during which the two state agencies agreed to collaborate on vaccination and pharmaceutical development in order to boost healthcare self-sufficiency and eliminate supply chain challenges.

As a result, Bio Farma of Indonesia, a leading manufacturer with over 130 years of experience, has formed a strategic cooperation with BioVax of Kenya. 

Under the terms of a health Memorandum of Understanding, the collaboration will focus on technology transfer, contract production, registration, supply, and marketing of vaccines developed in Kenya. 

Yuliana Indriati, Director of Business Development at Bio Farma, emphasized critical areas of help, such as legal transparency, harmonising registration and regulation, and facilitating human resources, such as recruiting participants for clinical trials. 

This echoes Rwanda’s groundbreaking for a COVID-19 vaccine production site in conjunction with BioNTech, a German company, with production set to begin in 2025. 

Recognizing the potential benefits for the country and region, Kenya commenced the process of joining the International Vaccine Institute in 2022.

Given the shortage of human vaccines, the BioVax Institute was formed to lead Kenya’s goal of self-sufficiency in vaccine production.  

With an ambitious goal of manufacturing vaccines within the next four years—a vital step toward full-scale local manufacture—the BioVax Institute sought to lead the country in local manufacturing.

This necessity for a human vaccine factory in Kenya stemmed from a recent shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, which impeded mass vaccination efforts across Africa. 

With this new initiative, Kenya aims to prioritise the development of COVID-19 vaccinations and other important immunizations through the BioVax initiative. 

The nomination of Dr. Michael Lusiola as Chief Executive Officer of BioVax in June 2022 demonstrates Nairobi’s commitment to the project. 

overnment officials have highlighted concerns about the lack of aggressive follow-ups from concerned parties, emphasizing the significance of regular monitoring, communication, and collaborative efforts for the successful execution of MOUs.

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