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"Most of the potential vaccine developers are optimistic the vaccine would be ready by year-end, ” Pharmaniaga's Mohamed Iqbal said at a press briefing.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pharmaniaga Bhd, a frontrunner to secure the government’s contract to repackage and distribute Covid-19 vaccine, said it will not be making a substantial investment for the bottling of the vaccine at its plant in Puchong.

Acting managing director Mohamed Iqbal Abdul Rahman said the investment for the fill-and-finish process would be around RM2mil.

He added that the vaccine is suitable to be bottled at the company’s facility in Puchong as it is a sterile liquid injection plant.

“There has to be a sterile environment for the vaccine to be bottled. We already have it, and it is furthermore a good manufacturing practice-approved plant. We can bottle the Covid-19 vaccine immediately once it is ready. Our capacity is around 10 million doses per month on 10 doses vial.

“I expect the vaccine to be available either by the first or second quarter of next year as it is in clinical trial in some countries. Most of the potential vaccine developers are optimistic the vaccine would be ready by year-end, ” he said at a press briefing.

Last month, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government had agreed for the facilities owned by Duopharma Biotech Bhd and Pharmaniaga to be used for the bottling of the vaccine.

The largest pharmaceutical company registered a 3.7% increase in net profit to RM9.61mil for the second quarter ended June 30,2020 compared to a year ago.

This was achieved on the back of a turnover of RM646mil, from higher sales of personal protective equipment due to the ongoing pandemic.

Net profit for the first half of the financial year rose 10.8% to RM32.02mil, as compared to the same period last year.

As a result of the strong financial performance, the board has declared a second interim dividend of 2.5 sen per share, which will be paid on Oct 6,2020 to shareholders on the register as at Sept 8,2020.

As for the company’s financial performance this year, Mohamed Iqbal said the more important thing now is to ensure the normalisation of its activities, adding that Pharmaniaga wanted to grow its business in the government and private sectors.

On the over-the-counter segment, he said the company planned to expand its product range and would do this either by in-house initiative or by farming it out to other manufacturers.

He said its participation in new tenders, including government hospitals, is ongoing. The company currently has a concession of 740 products involving logistics and distribution.

On the prospect of the pharmaceutical industry, Mohamed Iqbal noted that it is a recession-proof one.

Although there is competition, the industry would continue to grow, he said, adding that the government had increased about 6% of expenses in the healthcare sector under the last budget.

Moving forward, he said the company planned to expand in niche manufacturing and digitalisation initiatives.

https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2020/08/25/pharmaniaga-to-invest-rm2mil-in-vaccine-facility
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