MANILA - A local company is looking to build a vaccine manufacturing plant in the Philippines through a collaboration between the government and the private sector, its CEO said Monday.
The plant is plotted in the Clark EcoZone, said Giovani Alingog, CEO of Glovax Biotech. It will be "complete," with facilities for antigen production, vaccine formulation, animal testing, and research and development, he said.
There will be a "technology transfer" from South Korean biopharmaceutical company, Eubiologics, he said.
"We have been working on all the details that need to be done in order to construct it. This is not something that was just decided yesterday. This is something that we have planned long ago," he told ANC's Headstart.
"This plan has been running since 2012, and we have been submitting proposals to the DOST (Department of Science and Technology) since 2015," he said.
Alingog said the company is looking to partner with other conglomerates "because this is a very big endeavor."
"We want to have a collaboration between government agencies and private entities," he said.
He said the Department of Trade and Industry is "very much interested" in helping the company build the plant as it is in line with the agency's call to patronize locally made products.
He added, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana is also helping out because as of late, vaccines have become a "national security" issue.
"In the news right now, many countries who are producing vaccines are being disallowed to export until all of their citizens are vaccinated," he said.
"With a very big population like ours and we have a very high growth rate in terms of population—we are adding 2 million every year—it’s now a matter of national security to have this kind of vaccine plant...The government, like now, will need a lot of vaccines. And without a vaccine plant, we can’t just wait and beg for excess supply from other countries. We, too, need to be proactive on this," he added.
Glovax Biotech is also set to distribute Eucorvac-19, which was developed in New York and is manufactured by Eubiologics. It is a protein subunit type of COVID-19 vaccine that reportedly had an efficacy rate ranging between 92 and 95 percent in its Phase 1 and initial Phase 2 trials done in South Korea, said Alingog.
"I think most of the companies that were given EUA (emergency use authorization) in our country have not done clinical trial locally. The reason we wanted to do trial locally is to show, for ethnicity purposes for Filipinos, that the vaccine is also effective and safe," he said.
The clinical trial the company is designing is "platform-to-platform," which means Eucorvac-19 will be compared to other vaccines that have already been granted emergency use authorization, said Alingog. This would be on top of a trial involving a placebo group, he said.
"We are confident with our product, with our test results in Phase 1 and Phase 2. That’s why we wanted to conduct a clinical trial that is platform-to-platform...This will be combining or testing those different types of COVID vaccines to see which are more effective and safer for the Philippine context," he said.
Alingog said their local Phase 2 trial will tap 220 subjects across the Philippines.
Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo said the agency is yet to receive clinical trial application for Eucorvac-19.