DOST: Gov't in 'advanced talks' with 6 firms eyeing local vaccine manufacturing
In this picture taken on April 29, 2020, an engineer looks at monkey kidney cells as he make a test on an experimental vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus inside the Cells Culture Room laboratory at the Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing.
AFP/Nicolas Asfouri

DOST: Gov't in 'advanced talks' with 6 firms eyeing local vaccine manufacturing

(Philstar.com) - April 15, 2021 - 4:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government is in “advanced talks” with six pharmaceutical firms that are planning to set up vaccine manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology said Thursday.

The Philippines is dependent on the global supply of vaccines as there is no facility in the country that can make them.

“The government is in discussion with numerous pharmaceutical companies that have expressed intent to establish vaccine manufacturing facility in the country. Six companies are in advanced talks with the government,” DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said in a briefing.

Guevara declined to specify the companies but she described one as a distributor of a South Korean company, while another has “extensive facilities in Asia.”

One firm, which has links with a vaccine developer based in Germany, expressed willingness to partner with the government. A company that has a “long-term” partnership with a Chinese drugmaker is also interested in local manufacturing.

A firm is considering to start its local vaccine manufacturing venture with a fill-and-finish facility, while another is intending to initially do “form and fill and then do COVID-19” vaccine.

Fill-and-finish plants essentially put antigen delivered to the country into separate vials or ampoules.

Guevara said two of these companies are “quick and aggressive” in planning for the production of vaccines in the country. These two firms are interested to manufacture COVID-19 shots.

“If they pursue what we think are their plans, based on what they have told us, it looks like they can start producing vaccines by late 2022,” Guevara said.

The DOST official said the firms are also planning to produce vaccines against rubella, measles, and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

“We need to invest and establish our own local vaccine manufacturing to sustain the government’s need for the national immunization program of the DOH, to provide adequate vaccine doses to the potential annual COVID-19 vaccination, capacitate our pharmaceutical industry in developing vaccines to address existing and emerging diseases, and to prepare in time for the next pandemic,” she said.

The country has administered 1,255,716 COVID-19 vaccine doses as of April 13. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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