Malaysia’s Pharmaniaga looking to boost Sinovac vaccine production from 2m to 4m monthly

(MMO) – Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn Bhd is seeking to increase its production capabilities so that it can produce up to four million doses monthly of the Sinovac vaccine for Covid-19 by as early as August.

Pharmaniaga Berhad chief executive officer Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope said their current production capacity for the vaccine via the fill-and-finish method is two million doses monthly.

“We are currently finalising the relevant details and reports for Sinovac in China. Once the report has been submitted and is approved, we can begin to move towards increasing the production capacity,” he said at a press conference following a tour of Pharmaniaga’s production facility in Puchong with Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri.

Zulkarnain added that Pharmaniaga is currently in discussions with the government to prepare as a fallback in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

“We are negotiating with the government, so that in the event they cannot source other supplies of vaccines from abroad, we will step in to provide support,” he said.

When asked if Pharmaniaga is also looking to supply vaccines to the various state governments, Zulkarnain said this is not the case.

“At the moment we are still waiting for the federal government’s approval to supply to any state. So for now we are working with them only,” he said.

On his part, Ismail expressed his satisfaction over the factory’s output of the Sinovax vaccine, noting that as of yesterday approximately 1,889,800 doses have been completed for distribution.

“Of this amount, 290,480 doses have been distributed to the Health Ministry, as of May 11. An additional 793,600 are awaiting approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) for public use.

“The remaining 805,720 doses are undergoing 12 quality control tests before going through the Lot Release process for NPRA approval, which will be completed by the end of this month,” he said.

From today until May 31, Ismail said an estimated 720,000 doses will be finalised by Pharmaniaga for quality control testing. In total the facility will have produced 2,609,800 doses by the end of May 2021.

“I understand the facility can produce up to 500,000 doses every week. So by the end of June this will include another two million doses.

“With the completed vaccines, we can expect around 3.8 million doses to be ready. Additionally we will also be importing more doses from China to supplement the existing stock,” he said.

Malaysia has already imported 1.4 million doses, with three million doses each month at the end of June, July and August.