Kanger moves a step closer to distributing Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccines

ACE Market-listed Kanger International Bhd has obtained the green light from the relevant authority to communicate with the relevant stakeholders at China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm) to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for private sector use in Malaysia.

The company said the National Institutes of Biotechnology Malaysia (NIBM), an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia (MOSTI) has issued a letter which states that it has no objection for Kanger to proceed with the negotiation process.

A letter signed by NIBM’s board of trustees’ chairman Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid stated that NIBM encouraged Sinopharm to lend its support and assistance to Kanger as this is a positive step towards eradicating the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia.

Ahmad Zaki had previously emphasised the importance for Malaysia to get a safe and effective vaccine and to ensure vulnerable groups, which make up 20% of the population, get the coverage needed in a timely manner.

On Sept 29, Kanger announced that it aims to venture into the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines by signing a collaboration agreement with Sinopharm Group Hunan Changde Medical Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Sinopharm, for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, is the largest and oldest biotech company in China.

Sinopharm has developed two COVID-19 vaccines which have already entered Phase 3 trials – the final stage before being approved for general use in more than 10 countries.

So far, nearly a million people worldwide have received Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use.

Currently expanding its capacity and upgrading its manufacturing techniques, Sinopharm expects to increase its annual production capacity from 300 million doses to 1.3 billion doses. It has so far received 500 million doses intended orders from other countries for its vaccines.

One key advantage of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccines is that they can be transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures of 2° to 8°C, according to Kanger’s executive director Steven Kuah Choon Ching.

“To facilitate the safe storage, handling and distribution of the vaccines, the group aims to work together with Zuellig Pharma Sdn Bhd, the largest vaccine distributor in Malaysia and Asia,” he added.

As one of the license holders authorised by the Malaysian Government to handle the distribution of vaccines, Zuellig Pharma has extensive capabilities to warehouse and distribute vaccines in temperature-controlled environments.

Kanger inked a memorandum of understanding with Zuellig Pharma on the distribution of the vaccines on Oct 26.

At 2.31pm, Kanger was up 2 sen or 10.53% to 21 sen with 237.16 million shares traded, thus valuing the company at RM432 mil. – Nov 23, 2020

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