Glovax Biotech, a Filipino-owned vaccine distributor and proponent of the P7-billion vaccine manufacturing venture, is looking to supply 40 million doses of next generation COVID-19 vaccines from Korea 50 percent cheaper than what is currently being offered by vaccine producers.

Glovax Biotech President Giovanni Alingod announced during a briefing that he has already informed government officials, including Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the Philippines’ Declared National Policy Against COVID-19, of the available vaccine supply called EuCorVac-19 of Eubiologics from South Korea.

Glovax Biotech President Giovanni Alingod

He explained that the EuCorVac-19 of Eubiologics was developed in Western New York, USA by POP Biotechnologies and has been approved for Human Clinical Trials. The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety also approved the combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials last January 2021. The firm is just awaiting the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Authority (EUA) for the mass production of the next generation vaccines in South Korea. 

For the Philippine supply, Alingod said Glovax and Eubiologics are also in the process of applying for an EUA from the Food and Drugs Administration. Should they get the EUA by May this year and successfully convince the government to order the 40 million doses, Alingod said they can bring in the next generation EuCorVac-19 vaccines over a period of six months. 

He said Eubiologics can only produce 100 million doses annually in South Korea but because of its long established partnership, Glovax was able to secure 40 million doses. In fact, he said, other countries are asking South Korea to supply them with the vaccines at higher prices.

But for the Philippines, he said, “It will be 50 percent cheaper than the first generation COVID-19 vaccines.” While the price is not yet revealed, Alingod noted that the vaccine being offered now by the first generation manufacturers costs between P3,600 to P3,900 a dose. 

Glovax, the only vaccine-focused Filipino pharmaceutical distributor in the country, has partnerships with Korean firm Eubiologics since 2017 and LG Chem in 2005. These two firms are World Health Organization (WHO) Pre-Qualified Vaccine manufacturers. 

Alingod said they have approached the SM Group for a partnership that will allow the use for free a space in their malls as vaccination centers for their host local government units.

Alingod, however, said that the proposed vaccine manufacturing plant announced last Feb. 22, is tied with the Philippine government’s purchase of 40 million doses of EuCorVac-19 vaccines. This means the ambitious project may only be pursued if government purchases the 40 million doses of EuCorVac-19.

According to Alingod, the vaccine plant will produce the next generation COVID-19 vaccine and the Pentavalent Vaccine in partnership with Eubiologics and LG Chem, respectively. The plant will ensure that the Philippines has a vaccine manufacturing capability and a facility that could be used for vaccine production in case of new pandemics in the future. 

They are reportedly in talks with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Board of Investments and the National Development Company, the investment arm of the DTI, for possible funding or minority equity share in the construction of the first ever vaccine plant in the Philippines.

There are also other foreign groups interested to help put up the facility, which should be in an economic zone near an international airport. They are initially looking at Clark Special Economic Zone. 

Alingod, who reportedly started his company by selling his wedding gifts, justified the P7 billion Next Generation COVID Vaccine plant. He said the P7 billion investment includes the construction and the technology transfer costs. 

The planned vaccine manufacturing plant, he said is a complete technology transfer from Korea and the US from active pharmaceutical ingredients up to formulation and capable of producing  any vaccine for new pandemics that may come in the future and make the Philippines self reliant.

“Hopefully Eubiologics can help in vaccinating Filipinos and if takes years to vaccinate we can shorten the timeframe if can have own vaccine plant,” he stressed. Should the plan push through, he expects start of construction within the year.

“It is estimated that the world could vaccinate all its population in 7 years and the local vaccine plant can help reduce that timeframe especially for the Philippines. This will be the legacy of our President Rodrigo Duterte as it will be in partnership with the DTI, BOI, NDC, Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, and IATF, among different government agencies.”

As traditional vaccine manufacturers, Alingod said that Eubiologics and LG Chem have already produced vaccines in the past that were used by UNICEF, unlike other COVID vaccine manufacturers.

And as producer of Next Generation COVID vaccine, he said EuCorVac-19 would be more effective to fight the newer COVID strains and other mutations unlike the first generation COVID vaccines which are only 22 percent effective against the new South African strain and other new strains found around the world.

The next generation COVID vaccine can also be stored up to 25°C or room temperature up to 3 months and 2°C to 8°C for longer period, unlike the first generation of COVID vaccines which requires freezing temperature that the Philippines  is not well-equipped with.

According to Alingod, Glovax is the first and only vaccine company to bring in the first pandemic vaccine in 2009/2010 during the AH1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic. 

“If anyone could remember, there was also a shortage of the Pandemic Vaccine during the AH1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic,” he said. “With this experience, the proposed vaccine plant can avert the current and future pandemic.”

Since 2003, Glovax had brought in more 5 million vaccine doses of various types of vaccines, including Polio, Tuberculosis, Measles, Tetanus, Pentavalent, and Rabies. It is the only vaccine-focused company in the Philippines.

Source: Manila Bulletin (