KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Pharmaniaga Bhd is looking to expand its presence in Southeast Asia and Africa by supplying finished Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by its own high-technology plant.

Group managing director Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope said the Southeast Asian region, with a population of over 700 million, and the African continent, with its 1.3 billion population, offered tremendous potential for growth and would be the company’s focus areas to supply the vaccine.

“Following the completion of distributing and supplying Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to the Federal Government totalling 20.4 million doses, we are looking at further opportunities to export the vaccine overseas,” he told a virtual press conference on the company’s results for the second quarter (Q2) ended June 30, 2021.

However, he said the company would need the consent from its main supplier, Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd, before venturing into another country.

“Besides, we need to understand the requirements of certain countries — if they want us to supply only for the government or private sector, or both,” he said.

Zulkarnain said the company expected to be able to manufacture its own fill-and-finish vaccine registered under Pharmaniaga by October this year.

“Once it is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the rollout of the vaccine will be tremendous as there are only five fill-and-finish Sinovac vaccine plants in the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said following recent approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to manufacture fill-and-finish Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine two-dose per vial, the group would continue its production at wholly-owned subsidiary Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn Bhd’s (PLS) high-tech plant.

“This will immediately ramp up the plant’s capacity from two million doses to four million doses per month, starting August 2021.

“We are ever ready to provide national stockpile to support the government in the event of delays in delivery by other vaccine manufacturers as well as to meet the demand from the state governments and private sector,” he said.

Zulkarnain said the company had also submitted relevant documents to NPRA for the use of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine among children aged 12 to 17 years in Malaysia, given the approvals obtained in Indonesia and China.

Besides that, he said, Pharmaniaga was expecting Sinovac to offer booster shots soon in order to maintain protection against the virus, especially from the new variants.

Moving forward, Zulkarnain said the company remained cautiously optimistic of its results for the third quarter ending September 2021, and was expected to record sterling performance by focusing on operational efficiencies and fiscal discipline throughout its value chain, including the supply and distribution of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines in the country and overseas markets.

Pharmaniaga’s net profit rose to RM13.70 million in Q2 2021 from RM9.98 million in the same period a year ago on the back of an 82 per cent surge in revenue to RM1.18 billion due to higher demand from all operating segments, including businesses in Indonesia.

The significant increase in non-concession business was attributable to the sale of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to the Ministry of Health. 

The company has declared a second interim dividend of 1.5 sen per share to be paid on Sept 30, 2021, to shareholders on the register as of Sept 8, 2021.


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