The Health December 2020 | Page 8

Quest to develop vaccine for virus proving lucrative for both producers and distributors


The Health | december , 2020

| Cover Story |

The Covid-19 vaccine race

We are in the final stages of negotiating to participate in the Covid-19 vaccine global access ( Covax ) to obtain access to supply Covid-19 vaccine . The ceiling price set for the Covid-19 vaccine offered to Malaysia is US $ 21 ( RM87.50 ) each .”
– Khairy Jamaluddin

The lucrative vaccine link

Duopharma Biotech Berhad
Established in 1979 , Duopharma Biotech Bhd is engaged in the manufacturing , distributing , importing and exporting of pharmaceutical products and medicines . It has also diversified into the biosimilars space with technology and commercialisation collaborations with credible and strong international partners .
Duopharma Biotech has been identified as one of the government-linked companies by the government to undertake the fill-and-finish process for Covid-19 vaccines once they are developed . Duopharma Biotech – controlled by Permodalan Nasional Bhd – is the only company in the country with an accredited fill-and-finish line dedicated to human vaccines .
The company , Malaysia ’ s leading pharmaceutical company in terms of sales volume , has an inert human vaccine line at its Good Manufacturing Practice certified plant in Klang , Selangor which has the capacity of about six to seven million vials per year and able to run on a 24-hour basis . The fill-and-finish process includes repacking bulk liquid into vials , labelling and packaging of the vials .
Its share price has surged from RM1.48 on Mar 2 to RM4.03 on Nov 23 . Duopharma Biotech ’ s Group MD is Leonard Ariff Abdul Satar .
Pharmaniaga Berhad
Pharmaniaga has allocated RM2 mil to repurpose and gear up its existing small volume injectable plant in Puchong , Selangor to carry out the fill-and-finish process for the Covid-19 vaccine . This plant is about 80 per cent ready and has the capacity of about 10 million doses

Quest to develop vaccine for virus proving lucrative for both producers and distributors


As the number of confirmed Covid-19

cases passed the 65,000 mark recently , Malaysia is desperate for a vaccine to help bring the pandemic under control . However , at the earliest , this can only happen in the first quarter of 2021 , and even then , priority will be given to only three per cent of the population comprising frontliners from the health and security sectors . Science , Technology and Innovation ( Mosti ) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said it could cost the government at least RM3 billion to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population .
“ We are in the final stages of negotiating to participate in the Covid-19 vaccine global access ( Covax ) to obtain access to supply Covid-19 vaccine .
per month on 10 doses vial . Also , its equipment and storage capacity is capable of storing vaccines between two and eight degrees Celsius .
Pharmaniaga – controlled by Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera – is one of the largest listed pharmaceutical groups in Malaysia with more than 25 years of experience in implementing , distributing and delivering vaccines to all clinics and hospitals in the country . The group is carrying out the fill-and-finish tasks for non-Covid-19 vaccines produced by India , China , Russia , Thailand and South Korea .
The company aims to produce its halal vaccine in the next five years . Pharmaniaga is also on track to establish a vaccine facility by the year 2022 . Pharmaniaga ’ s share shot up from RM1.66 on Mar 2 to RM5.58 on Nov 23 . Its Group MD is Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope .
Ho Wah Genting Berhad
HWGB , primarily involved in manufacturing and tour-related services , has aggressively diversified into healthcare this year . Previously , it was involved in the distribution of Covid-19 test kits and in August , joined the race to produce a Covid-19 vaccine .
The company has also entered into several agreements with other parties involved in healthcare products . Among the products procured were dietary supplements and Covid-19 diagnostic kits .
HWGB Biotech Sdn Bhd – a wholly-owned subsidiary of HWGB – has partnered with US-based E-Mo Biology Inc ( EBI ) to develop a preventive Covid-19 vaccine . It has also obtained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct Phase IV clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine . EBI is working towards repurposing the Oral Polio Vaccine ( OPV ) for Covid-19 .
HWGB Biotech will invest US $ 1 mil in EBI . It will be given exclusive rights for the production , distribution ,
The ceiling price set for the Covid-19 vaccine offered to Malaysia is US $ 21 ( RM87.50 ) each ,” he said .
The government has signed a preliminary purchasing agreement with pharmaceutical company Pfizer to buy 12.8 million doses to immunise 6.4 million Malaysians . Pfizer will deliver one million doses in the first quarter of 2021 , followed by 1.7 million doses in the second quarter , 5.8 million in the third quarter and 4.3 million doses in the fourth quarter . However , the purchase is subject to the approval of the Health Ministry ’ s vetting for safety and effectiveness .
The Covid-19 vaccine might become the fastestdeveloped vaccine in history . Research centres , pharmaceutical giants and drug-makers are in a race against time , a race to save lives and a race to rake in profits .
Pharmaceutical giants like AstraZeneca ,
and sale of the repurposed OPV vaccine against Covid-19 infections in Southeast Asia .
HWGB ’ s share price has risen from 11 sen in March to 77 sen on Nov 23 . It hit an all-time high of RM1.20 on Aug 7 . Its MD and CEO is Datuk Aaron Lim Ooi Hong .
DKSH Holdings ( Malaysia ) Berhad
DKSH is a leader in the market expansion services industry in Malaysia , especially for the fast-moving consumer goods and healthcare sectors . Established in Malaysia in 1923 , it is majority-owned by the
DKSH Group of Switzerland .
DKSH ’ s portfolio of services includes offering clients a comprehensive network of sales , marketing , logistics and distribution services .
With its years of experience , DKSH has a wellestablished position in the logistics industry for healthcare products . Thus , the company is seen as a potential candidate for the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine especially with its long-term relationship with – AstraZeneca and Pfizer – which are frontrunners to produce the Covid-19 vaccine .
Besides that , DKSH has a technologicallyadvanced cold chain and redressing facility with industry-standard storage for vaccines and biotech products . Its healthcare distribution centre received a top-level certification for its facility security requirements . Besides , its Shah Alam and Kota Kinabalu facilities comply with Good Distribution Practice ( GDP ) and Good Distribution Practice for Medical Device ( GDPMD ) requirements .
DKSH ’ s share price has risen from RM2.71 on Mar 2 to RM3.60 on Nov 23 . The company ’ s Malaysia Head of Country Management is Jason Michael Nicholas McLaren .