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4 firms seek vaccine manufacturing in Philippines â DOST
Rowena Cristina Guevara, undersecretary for research and development and chairperson of the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection, said the companies are looking at various stages of vaccine manufacturing from fill and finish to full range vaccine manufacturing processes.
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4 firms seek vaccine manufacturing in Philippines – DOST

Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least four companies have expressed interest in setting up local vaccine manufacturing in the country, a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) official said yesterday.

Rowena Cristina Guevara, undersecretary for research and development and chairperson of the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection, said the companies are looking at various stages of vaccine manufacturing from fill and finish to full range vaccine manufacturing processes.

The DOST, however, would not reveal the names of the companies as it has non-disclosure agreements with the four parties.

Guevara said aside from the DOST, the four companies are also talking to the Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investments and DTI’s investment arm, the National Development Corp.

She added that the DOST had already connected the companies to foreign vaccine developers.

“We have no technology. We have to bring the technology here,” Guevara said in a virtual interview with Manila-based dzRH host Karen Ow-yong.

“We have found partners who are willing to help us both with the fill and finish pipe (line), and there is that for all the way to the beginning of the vaccine manufacturing process, the production of the antigens of the vaccines,” Guevara said in mixed English and Filipino.

Two of the four firms have collaborated with a foreign partner, she said, adding that the DOST is ready to help only in the regulatory process.

She explained that even if the companies would locally manufacture vaccines, they would still have to go through requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Guevara said the companies might tap the opportunities in manufacturing all kinds of vaccines in the country.

“Because you know, COVID-19 vaccine is in our minds right now. All our vaccines are imported,” Guevara said.

“So they have the opportunity to produce, not only COVID-19 vaccine but other vaccines we are using in the country,” she said.

Guevara stressed that the national government is doing its best to prepare in helping these companies pursue local vaccine manufacturing.

“The FDA should also have to be ready to, what we call, global benchmakring level 2, so they can certify a vaccine by the end of the year. We need to certify,” Guevara said.

“The DOST and the DTI have to learn how to help the private sector, not only the FDA,” Guevara said.

Asked for a workable timeline for the companies to start vaccine production, the dean said it might be between late 2022 to early 2023.

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