Manila – Filipino pharmaceutical firm Glovax Biotech released a statement saying it is in talks with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Bureau of Investments and the National Development Company (the investment arm of the DTI) for the construction of a next-generation COVID-19 vaccine production facility should the Philippine government purchase 40 million doses of EuCorVac-19 and the Pentavalent vaccines.

EuCorVac-19 was developed in the United States by POP Biotechnologies, with Glovax partnering with South Korea’s Eubiologics and LG Chem, the two World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualified vaccine manufacturers that produce vaccines used by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“Glovax and Eubiologics are in the process of applying for the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA),” Glovax said, noting that the EuCorVac-19 vaccine got the approval for combined Phase I and Phase II clinical trial from the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in January 2021.

Glovax said it will invest ₱7 billion for the manufacturing plant and technology transfer cost.

“The local Covid-19 vaccine plant is capable of producing 100 million doses of next-generation COVID-19 vaccine annually and could help in alleviating our burden of waiting for other countries’ excess supply,” Glovax said, with the pharmaceutical firm the first and only company that brought the vaccine to the country during the AH1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009 to 2010.

“With this experience, Glovax is proposing a vaccine plant to avert the current and future pandemics,” Glovax Biotech Corp. founder and CEO Giovanni Alingog said.

In another report by the Manila Bulletin, Alingog said that for the Philippine supply, they are now in the process of applying for an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), noting that if they get the EUA by May this year and convince the Philippine government to order 40 million doses, Glovax can bring in the next-generation EuCorVac-19 vaccine within six months.

“It will be 50 percent cheaper than the first generation COVID-19 vaccines” Alingog added, noting that the vaccine being offered now by the first-generation manufacturers costs between ₱3,600 to ₱3,900 a dose.

Alingog also noted that they are initially looking at Clark Special Economic Zone, adding there are other foreign groups interested to help put up the facility.

He added that the planned vaccine manufacturing plant “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.

Glovax said their company has been endorsed to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) by National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

“It is estimated that the world could vaccinate all its population in seven years and the local vaccine plant can help reduce that time frame, especially for the Philippines,” Alingog said.

Pentavalent vaccine

In a report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Glovax and LG Chem’s will also locally produce Pentavalent vaccine, which gives immunity against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B, an infection that causes pneumonia and meningitis.

“Glovax proposal to produce the next generation COVID vaccine offers a lot of advantages as it can capture newer COVID-19 strains and other mutations unlike the first generation COVID-19 vaccines which are only 22 percent effective against the new South African strain and other new strains found around the world,” the company said, noting the “storing requirement for the EuCorVac-19 is less demanding compared to the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines as Eubiologics’ vaccine can last for three months at 25°Celsius, or keep it for a longer period at 2°C to 8°C.”

According to the report, Glovax has sold more than five million doses of vaccines against polio, tuberculosis, measles, tetanus, rabies, and Pentavalent in the Philippines since 2003.