KUALA LUMPUR,Jan 12: Pharmaniaga Bhd has the capacity to manufacture two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd a month beginning in March.
Its group managing director, Zulkarnain Md Eusope, said the vaccine would be the first to be manufactured in Malaysia at the small volume injectable high-tech plant owned by Pharmaniaga’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Pharmaniaga LifeSciences Sdn Bhd, in Puchong.
He said the group would invest RM3 million to retrofit the plant to enable the production of the vaccine.
“We are confident of carrying out the task successfully because our technical experts have been working on the setting up of a halal vaccine plant in Malaysia since 2017,” he told reporters after the signing of an agreement between Pharmaniaga and Sinovac today.
“When Covid-19 spread around the world early last year, we immediately channelled our team to work with our global partners, including Sinovac, on the fill and finish manufacturing activity and technology transfer to speed up the availability of vaccines against the pandemic.”
The signing ceremony was witnessed by senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob, health minister Dr Adham Baba and science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
The agreement is for the supply of 14 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to be carried out through the fill and finish activity.
Pharmaniaga has been engaging with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to ensure that its plant continues to be in high compliance with regulatory requirements.
Zulkarnain said the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine has completed the phase three trials in Brazil and Turkey, and is in the process of getting approvals in both countries.
“We are in discussion with NPRA for registration and they have been supportive. We are confident that we can have the vaccine ready to be distributed to hospitals by the end of March,” he said.
Khairy said the agreement between Pharmaniaga and Sinovac was a private initiative.
“We have facilitated this because we have given an indication to Pharmaniaga that we are interested in the Sinovac vaccine,” he said, adding that the government’s procurement of part of the supply would, hopefully, be concluded by next week.