DOST: 2 more firms express interest in local vaccine manufacturing
MANILA, Philippines — Two more companies have expressed interest in local vaccine manufacturing, which brings the total number of firms that want to produce vaccines to eight, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Tuesday.
Of the eight companies, five are eyeing to produce COVID-19 vaccines, according to DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara. The two other firms want to first manufacture shots for other diseases, while the other company has yet to decide on the product it will produce.
“To date, eight companies have expressed interest to go into local vaccine manufacturing, with one company targeting to start a fill-and-finish facility within 2021,” she said in an online media forum.
Fill-and-finish facilities basically put a vaccine antigen delivered to the country into smaller vials for distribution.
Guevara said that one of the two more companies that have expressed interest in the initiative has ongoing talks with a Taiwanese vaccine developer for a possible partnership in local manufacturing.
Meanwhile, the other company has expressed interest to participate in the initiative of the World Health Organization for the establishment of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub to scale up global manufacturing.
Earlier in April, Guevara said the government is in advance talks with six potential vaccine manufacturers to sustain the country’s needs for vaccine supply.
On Tuesday, she added that one possible partner for the sixth company is a company based in the United States.
According to Guevara, the country’s Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection, through the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments and the National Development Company, has been coordinating with prospective vaccine manufacturers through three primary methods.
She said the government is connecting local pharmaceutical companies to foreign vaccine developers that have expressed interest in local vaccine manufacturing and providing guidance to local pharmaceutical companies on possible incentives available to them and on regulatory requirements.
Guevara said the task group also leads the review and updating of policies and programs to make the conditions more favorable for vaccine manufacturing.
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