A number of companies are planning to establish vaccine manufacturing facilities in the Philippines in the next few years as the country continues its push to become “vaccine self-reliant,” a government official announced.
Dr. Zen Biotech Inc., which has technology providers from India and China, is constructing a facility for the production of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) jabs at the First Bulacan Industrial Estate in Malolos City. The project worth USD 40 million will be carried out in two phases. The company will infuse USD 20 million in each phase and targets to commence operation by 2022.
The facility will be located in the economic zone in Bulacan, which aims to be developed as the Philippines’ first pharmaceutical economic zone. The pharmaceutical firm will produce second-generation recombinant vaccines for Covid-19 that use advanced technology compared with the original vaccines. The company is also looking to partner with the US-based vaccine manufacturers, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
In addition, IG Biotech, Inc. and IP Biotech are also planning to produce Covid-19 vaccines, influenza multivalent vaccines, and pneumococcal polyvalent vaccines in the country. IG Biotech is a pharmaceutical trader and IP Biotech is engaged in manufacturing activities. The companies are seeking to secure a memorandum of understanding with the government’s investment arm, the National Development Co. and the Board of Investments. They plan to conduct phase 3 clinical trials in the country.
United Laboratories (Unilab), the leading pharmaceutical company in South East Asia, also confirmed their intention to make a local vaccine manufacturing plant in the country starting with the Covid-19 vaccines. It plans to export to other ASEAN countries. The company is looking to partner with a technology provider by 2020 and would start the operation of a form, fill, and finish plant by 2023.
Glovax, a local vaccine distributor in the country, has signed an agreement with their technology partner, Eubiolgics of Korea, for local vaccine manufacturing. The company has proposed to allocate its PHP 7.5 billion (USD 155.8 million) project in Clark, Pampanga. It targets to start operation of a form, fill and finish facility by October 2022.
Companies that will manufacture vaccines in the Philippines will be given preferential treatment in public procurements due to several laws mandating the government to prioritize local firms in biddings. The Philippine Congress is also working on the Pandemic Procurement Bill, which will allow the government to buy pandemic-related products from local companies even if it is priced 20% higher than foreign-made options.
(Sources: ABS-CBN News; Manila Bulletin; Philippines News Agency)