MANILA, Philippines – The government is currently in talks with six companies that are planning to establish vaccination manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Thursday.
In a virtual press briefing, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said these companies are local drug makers that have expressed intents to open vaccine-making facilities in the country in the next few years.
“These are local pharmaceutical companies. Wala pa tayong local vaccine manufacturers in the Philippines. These local pharmaceutical companies are trying to come up with a new product, which is a vaccine,” she said.
Guevara declined to name specific companies, citing confidentiality, as negotiations are still ongoing. She, however, gave descriptions of the six firms.
One is a local distributor of a South Korean company, another has extensive facilities in Asia and is planning to partner with a foreign brand name where all the vaccines that the country needs are being manufactured.
The third company is connected to a vaccine developer in Germany, while another firm is planning to start a local vaccine manufacturing business with a fill-and-finish facility.
The fifth company is a long-term partner of a Chinese vaccine producer that is interested in local manufacturing, while the sixth firm is still looking for a possible partner but is planning to partner with a US pharmaceutical company.
Guevara also disclosed that two of these companies have been aggressive in pushing for local vaccine production.
“If they pursue their plans, based on what they have told us, parang kakayanin nilang mag-produce ng vaccine by late 2022,” she said.
Guevara said these manufacturing facilities will not just produce COVID-19 vaccines but also other jabs against rubella, polio, and other vaccine-preventable diseases, for about 40 million doses per year.
The national government has been eyeing to establish the country’s own vaccine institute to locally produce vaccines and sustain the needs for immunization programs.
The DOST said the country is also in talks with 25 international manufacturers, including the Serum Institute of India which has previously offered assistance for the Philippines to locally manufacture vaccines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)