Malaysia is constructing the first commercial halal biosimilar production facility to be completed in 2024, which is primarily aimed at creating access to more affordable treatments especially for chronic diseases in the country. Three companies, namely VentureTECH, Malaysia’s state-linked strategic investment company, Duopharma Biotech, Malaysia’s leading pharmaceutical conglomerate and South Korea-based biotechnology firm PanGen Biotech Inc. have signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the biosimilar facility venture.
VentureTECH plans to invest MYR 15 million (USD 3.5 million) for the establishment of the production facility and the production of biosimilar drugs for both domestic and export markets. The exact location for this facility is yet to be determined. The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation said that this move was considered as timely since most patents of key biologic treatments were scheduled to expire in the near future, and also the biosimilar field is seen as an easier entry point for Malaysia as it would save research cost.
One of the biosimilar products to be produced in the new facility would be PanGen’s epoetin alfa biosimilar (Erisa, Erysaa), which would also be halal certified. DuoPharma Biotech and PanGen have successfully developed biosimilar erythropoietin, which was certified as halal by the Korean Muslim Federation (KMF) and is currently being reviewed by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) for halal certification in Malaysia. Both companies have also signed another agreement to set-up a local manufacturing facility to produce Erysaa and other biosimilar products.
The collaboration project also seeks to generate high-skilled employment, increasing the demand for highly-skilled local talents particularly in the high-value biopharmaceutical products and promoting technology adoption in the country.
(Sources: The Edge Markets; Centre for Biosimilars)