Pharmaniaga, NIBM ink MoU on vaccines R&D

by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / pic by BERNAMA

PHARMANIAGA Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary, Pharmaniaga Research Centre Sdn Bhd, has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Institutes of Biotechnology Malaysia (NIBM) in the various areas of research and development (R&D) for locally produced Covid-19 vaccine.

Pharmaniaga Group MD Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope (picture) said the R&D co-operation between both parties will spur further pertinent efforts in the pharmaceutical industry to assist the government in protecting the national interest by having locally developed and produced vaccines to meet the needs of the people.

He said Malaysia has been relying on the importation of vaccines as currently no human vaccines are being developed and produced locally.

“The closest is the fill-and-finish manufacturing of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine by our wholly owned subsidiary, Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn Bhd.

“Thus, backed by our valuable experience with the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine, we will work together with NIBM in many areas of R&D and training on vaccines so that Malaysia will be able to develop and produce various types of vaccines for babies, children and adults in the future,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Pharmaniaga is the product registration holder and sole distributor of Sinovac Covid vaccine in Malaysia and has supplied 20.4 million doses of the vaccine to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Its high-tech European Union certified plant, Pharmaniaga LifeScience has the capacity to manufacture four million doses of the filled-and-finished Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine a month and currently supplies the vaccine needs of the private market.

Zulkarnain added that they are confident in the outcome of this collaboration because Pharmaniaga Research Centre has over 300 professional scientific workforces and has developed over 240 generic drugs that they later manufacture on their own for the local and international markets.

“Indeed, this co-operation will also be another step towards building national readiness against any pandemic in the future, as well as strengthen Pharmaniaga’s plan to establish the world’s first halal vaccine manufacturing plant in Malaysia,” he said.

The announcement of the MoU was made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at the launching of the National Vaccine Development Roadmap and Malaysian Genome and Vaccine Institute.