Pharma firms plan to produce vaccine locally


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently announced that pharmaceutical firms Glovax Biotech, IG/IP Biotech, Dr. Zen Biotech, and United Laboratories (Unilab) are taking steps to begin local vaccine manufacturing.

Each firm aims to establish sites that can “fill and finish”, which refers to the final step of vaccine production wherein the medicine is placed into vials.

In a presentation with President Duterte, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez revealed updates from the firms on their plans.

For their local manufacturing, Glovax has signed a P7.5 billion agreement with South Korean vaccine producer Eubiologics.

Glovax chairman and president Giovani Alingog also mentioned that Manuel V. Pangilinan along with his MVP Group of Companies, has pledged support to their plans for local vaccine production.

The proposed location for their fill and finish facility is in Clark, Pampanga.
The firm hopes to begin its operations by October next year.

Meanwhile, Unilab intends to focus on Covid19 vaccine production as well as export within Southeast Asia, should a technology partnership be obtained by the firm.

If Unilab is able to collaborate by next year, it’s fill and finish plant may be running by 2023.

IG/IP Biotech on the other hand, will enter into a memorandum of understanding with National Development Company and Board of Investments for financial support.

Apart from Covid19, IG/IP also plans on producing influenza vaccines as well as multivalent and pneumococcal polyvalent vaccines.

Second generation recombinant Covid19 vaccines as well as monoclonal antibodies and general injectables are what Dr. Zen Biotech plan to focus on, with its total project cost amounting to P20 million.

Dr. Zen is currently looking into establishing technology partnerships with the US’ Moderna and AstraZeneca, to augment its current agreements with China and India.

The firm plans on constructing its fill and finish plant in First Bulacan Industrial Estate, by next year.

Lopez further added in his presentation that government green lanes are needed for quicker requirement processing.

By locally producing vaccines, we would become “self-reliant and self-sufficient”, he added.

For the past weeks the country has experienced a rapid surge in Covid19 infections, with a total of 945,745 recorded cases as of April 19.

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