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Jakarta Post

Bio Farma teams up with CEPI to mass produce COVID-19 vaccine

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Fri, October 16, 2020   /   05:38 pm
Bio Farma teams up with CEPI to mass produce COVID-19 vaccine State-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma has been selected to work with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) as a potential manufacturer for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Shutterstock/ PalSand)

State-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma has been selected to work with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) as a potential manufacturer for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Bio Farma president director Honesti Basyir said that CEPI would use the company’s facility, which is said to be capable of producing up to 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine a year once one is developed. Production is expected to start between the fourth quarter of 2021 and first quarter of 2022.

“CEPI only partners with vaccine producers that meet their standards, one of which is Bio Farma,” Honesti said in a statement on Thursday.

CEPI is a global partnership involving public, private and philanthropic organizations. It aims to solve epidemics through vaccine development. Through its COVAX response program, the coalition aims to deliver 2 billion doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021 to its partner countries.

The global coalition picked Bio Farma following a due diligence test in September, in which CEPI evaluated the company’s capabilities in developing a vaccine, including its production, laboratory analysis and technology information systems.

Read also: COVID-19 vaccine to be priced at Rp 200,000 per dosage: Bio Farma

Honesti said the partnership would not disrupt the company’s daily operations.

He also conveyed his hope that the collaboration with CEPI would extend beyond COVID-19 vaccine research, with Bio Farma to gain access to more advanced manufacturing technologies.

Bio Farma is one of 29 vaccine producers in the world that was prequalified by the World Health Organization for good manufacturing practices. The pharmaceutical company previously produced the type 2 oral polio vaccine, which has been used in about 150 countries.

The company also has a vaccine and biotechnology reference laboratory for members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Indonesian government has secured several deals to procure approximately 300 million doses of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine from various developers, including China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), as well as United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca. It aims to start vaccinating citizens by January next year.

Bio Farma is also working with Sinovac to launch phase III clinical trials of the candidate vaccine developed by the Chinese company in Bandung, West Java. (mfp)