Vaccine manufacturing operations in the country are expected to start as early in the second or third quarter next year with three projects are progressing in their processes, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez announced.

Vials of COVID-19 vaccines. (Keith Bacongco/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“If conditions permit, fill-and-finish vaccine manufacturing operations may start as early as the second or third quarter of 2022,” said Lopez in a speech at the virtual “Philippine Generics Summit Webinar“.

To date, Lopez reported that the Board of Investments (BOI) has managed to talk with seven local companies that have expressed their interest to manufacture vaccines locally. “Of the seven companies, four companies (equivalent to 3 projects) are progressing,” he said.

Most of these companies are currently in discussions or negotiations with potential foreign manufacturers and technology providers from India, Korea, China, Taiwan, and possibly from the United States and Australia. For instance, Glovax Biotech has partnered with a Korean vaccine manufacturer to produce the EuCorVac-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

Earlier, Lopez identified the potential vaccine firms in the country as Greentech, Glovax Biotech, IG Biotech, New Marketlink, Lloyds Laboratories, and United Laboratories (Unilab).

In the longer term, he said, the government is also planning to establish a full-scale vaccine manufacturing facility. “This is critical in giving the country a sense of security and self-sufficiency to address current and future health emergencies and pandemics,” he said.

At the start of the pandemic, the BOI has moved to invite vaccine manufacturers to establish plants in the country. To encourage these firms, a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) with Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, Anti Red Tape Authority, Food and Drugs Administration, and the National Task Force expedited the streamlining and processing of permits and clearances for the establishment of local vaccine manufacturing facilities. This was in accordance with President Duterte’s Presidential Directive (PD) No. 2021- 029.

“By working on our capacity to locally produce drugs, including vaccines, we can create resilient and pandemic-proof health systems,” he said.

Lopez said this push by the government is not only for the local requirements but also to make the Philippines their manufacturing hub and gateway to the rest of Asia.

“Our country is a good source of natural ingredients and herbs that are being used in pharmaceuticals worldwide,” he said that these vaccine manufacturing companies can benefit from the country’s young and technologically-skilled manpower, strong government support, good policy environment, and regulatory incentives.

Source: Manila Bulletin (