MANILA — US biotech company Moderna will set up a vaccine making facility in the Philippines that will "serve the entire Asia Pacific Region," Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Moderna Chief Commercial Officer Arpa Garay and Senior Vice President and General Manager Patrick Bergstedt informed President President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. about the planned "Shared Service Facility for Pharmacovigilance" during a meeting at the Blair House in Washington, the Palace said.
Once operational, it will be Moderna’s only shared service facility in Asia and the third in the world following Poland and Georgia in the US. It is expected to employ around 50 health professionals, with an office located either in Makati or at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Malacañang said.
“We are really excited to have selected the Philippines for the third one primarily because you know the capabilities exist. We have the talent that exists, and we know that the partnership will be one that can be beneficial for both Moderna and the Philippines,” Garay was quoted as having said by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).
Moderna was among the pharmaceutical firms that pioneered the production of COVID-19 vaccines, which were distributed to the Philippines.
The Philippines is "very, very interested" in the opportunity to build shared services with the company, Marcos said, as quoted by the PCO.
"The most important part is that we sat down and drew the program, and say this is how we approach the problem … Those are the kind of skills that we need. With your experience in other countries, there are many lessons that we could learn that can be applied in the Philippines," he added.
The previous Duterte administration had eyed vaccine self-reliance through "fill and finish" plants that would import materials from developers.
Marcos meanwhile has also pushed for the creation of a virology institute and a disease control center in the Philippines to respond to future pandemics and health crises.