The Health December 2020 | Page 9

| Cover Story |

december , 2020 | The Health


BioNTech and Pfizer have claimed their vaccine had a 90 per cent success rate while Moderna reported its vaccine was nearly 95 per cent effective .
These vaccines are expected to be available by the end of 2020 and early 2021 .
In China , vaccine-makers Sinopharm Group Co Ltd , Sinovac Biotech Ltd and CanSino Biologics Inc started distributing vaccines via China ’ s emergency use programme even when it had not been formally proven to be safe or effective .
But as time goes by , there could be new and mutated strains of Covid-19 emerging which replicate 10 times faster and are more infectious . The question is whether these vaccines will be able to prevent and block transmission of the virus then ?
The halal factor
Prof Liong Min-Tze , a professor in bioprocess technology , said there were several mutated strains
of the virus which makes it difficult to develop a vaccine . She suggested other non-vaccine strategies may be more feasible .
There have also been calls for Malaysia to secure a halal vaccine .
Said Ameen Kamal , Head of Science & Technology at EMIR Research : “ The authorities have to determine if there are truly no other alternatives i . e . vaccines that are equally safe , efficacious , and efficient vaccines that do not have any haram / prohibited materials in it .
“ The Malaysian context may call for authorities making the technical assessments on vaccines to consider bringing in religious authorities in the assessment early on .”
The vaccine business or anything related has proven to be lucrative judging by the way the shares of several listed companies on Bursa Malaysia have soared due to the vaccine frenzy ( see story on vaccine related companies ). Most of them hit their all-time highs this year .
These listed companies are jumping on the vaccine production bandwagon or getting into businesses related to it . Some companies have tied up with foreign parties to produce or distribute the vaccines . Others will be tasked with the fill-andfinish process and distribution of the vaccines to the local market as well as in the region .
Investors are betting on the revenues and profits of these companies to escalate once the vaccines are available . And given the rising number of new cases daily around the world , it will take some time before the virus can be controlled .
The vaccine frenzy shows that amidst the Covid-19 pandemic where most businesses in the world suffer , some companies like vaccine-makers are doing well either through foresight or being in the right industry at the right time . — The Health
Metronic Global Berhad
Metronic is one of the local pioneers in the engineering business since 1984 and specialises in intelligent building management system and integrated security management system . Meanwhile , its subsidiary Metronic Medicare Sdn Bhd ( MMSB ) focuses on the distribution of medical-related products in Malaysia and Southeast Asia .
On Nov 20 , Metronic announced that MMSB had entered into a memorandum of agreement with Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation ( MVC ) to obtain exclusive distribution rights for MVC ’ s Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia and potentially other countries .
MVC – an international pharmaceutical company listed on Taiwan Stock Exchange – has developed the vaccine which has entered clinical development and is requesting MMSB to distribute the vaccine .
MVC is a vaccination company and a comprehensive biopharmaceutical manufacturer dedicated to preventing emerging infectious diseases with expertise in developing cell-based vaccines and biosimilar products . MVC has agreed to supply an estimated three million doses of the finished product to MMSB in 2021 at not more than US $ 50 ( RM204.63 ) per dose .
MGB ’ s share has risen from four sen on Mar 2 to 12 sen on Nov 23 . The company ’ s CEO is Hoo Wai Keong .
Bintai Kinden Corp Berhad
Bintai Kinden , whose core business is in mechanical and electrical engineering , entered the healthcare space in October . Its subsidiary Bintai Healthcare Sdn Bhd inked a distribution and licensing agreement with US-based firm Generex Biotechnology Corp and its subsidiary NuGenerex Immuno-Oncology Inc , a vaccine research firm .
Under the agreement , Bintai Healthcare is granted the exclusive rights to distribute , sell and commercialise the Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia . In addition , it will also have the right of first refusal to commercially exploit the vaccine within New Zealand , Australia and the global halal market .
Only after obtaining approval by the US Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) in the first half of 2021 and the Malaysian authorities , Bintai Healthcare will import the vaccine into Malaysia and to other Southeast Asia markets before setting up a facility to undertake the filland-finish process .
Bintai Kinden had seen its share price soar from just one sen on Mar 2 to 72 sen on Nov 23 . Its MD & CEO is Ong Choon Lui .
Hong Seng Consolidated Berhad
Formerly known as MSCM Holdings Bhd , Hong Seng Consolidated ( HSC ) is engaged in the provision of search and advertising , information technology and moneylending business .
In August , the group ventured into nitrile glovemaking business . It later acquired 51 per cent stake in Pantasniaga Sdn Bhd , a supplier of polymerase chain reaction ( PCR ) test kits for Covid-19 to the Malaysian government and its related agencies .
In October , HSC through its subsidiary HS Bio Supplies Sdn Bhd entered into an unincorporated consortium agreement with RP Integrated Bhd ’ s unit Royce Pharma Manufacturing Sdn Bhd to pursue distributorship and opportunities relating to medical drugs and vaccines from China-based Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd ( Fosun ) for the Southeast Asia markets .
In November , HSC entered an agreement with Beijing Applied Biological Technologies Co Ltd ( BABT ) to jointly provide total solutions for the Covid-19 test kit and other infrastructure development projects .
Its share price has surged from 12 sen on Mar 2 to RM1.04 on Nov 23 . HSC ’ s Executive Chairman is Datuk Teoh Hai Hin .
Solution Group Berhad
Solution Group , which is principally involved in the design and development of equipment and software , has diversified into healthcare .
On Sept 23 , the group ’ s subsidiary Solution Biologics Sdn Bhd ( SolBio ) and Chinabased CanSino Biologics Inc signed an agreement which will enable SolBio to market and distribute the Covid-19 vaccine developed by CanSino in Malaysia .
SolBio will also establish a state-of-the-art fill and finish facility at its current premise in Bukit Jalil , Kuala Lumpur to host a technology transfer for the filling , finishing and final quality control of CanSino ’ s vaccine .
Both companies will collaborate in obtaining the necessary approvals , which includes marketing and commercialisation of the product in Malaysia .
On Oct 30 , SolBio was authorised by CanSino to extend their collaboration to include marketing the vaccine in the Philippines , Vietnam , Thailand , Myanmar , Cambodia , Laos and Brunei .
Its share price has rallied from eight sen on Mar 2 to an all-time high of RM1.04 on Nov 23 . Solution Group MD is Lim Yong Hew . — The Health