Yong Tai all set to be Malaysia’s first private COVID-19 vaccine provider

OBTAINING an approval to start the Phase III clinical trial has made Yong Tai Bhd the first private company to initiate and sponsor the Phase III clinical trial of vaccines in Malaysia.

The tourism-related property developer said the Health Ministry (MOH) has consented its subsidiary YTB Healthcare Sdn Bhd to conduct Phase III clinical trial of the inactivated COVID-19 trial vaccines in Malaysia.

YTB Healthcare has already formalised the Phase III clinical trial and product procurement with its strategic partner, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co. Ltd (SZKT) since December last year. SZKT is one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in China.

“The recent surge in COVID-19 cases is a concern for the country as the recent virus outbreaks also involve different variants of the virus,” commented Yong Tai’s CEO and executive director Datuk Wira Boo Kuang Loon.

Datuk Wira Boo Kuang Loon

“This makes it even more important for us as private sectors to do our part in helping the country to achieve herd immunity.”

Yong Tai has set an internal target to roll out the distribution of SZKT’s inactivated vaccine by 3Q 2021 subject to the approval by National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (NPRA) for emergency usage.

So far, the COVID-19 vaccines are procured by the Government and administered for free to the public. The regulators have already approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, China’s Sinovac and Britain’s AstraZeneca.

“So far, we have only seen around 2.4% of the population that has obtained at least one dose of the vaccine,” observed Boo.

“It is still a long way and we believe that involvement of a local private sector in the distribution of vaccine will help to escalate the country’s goal to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.”

Yong Tai will now focus on its Phase III clinical trial which involves 3,000 volunteers in Malaysia.

Ranked as the top four of China’s biopharmaceutical company, Yong Tai’s partner SZKT is involved in cooperation with other vaccine producers such as Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, Intravacc and AstraZeneca.

“With our collaboration, we are looking to help escalate the country’s target to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 and potentially bring in SZKT to set up their production centre in Malaysia,” Boo projected Boo.

“This will also help to attract huge investment into Malaysia, as well as transfer technical know-how to local workers and create job opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector.”

Under the collaboration with SZKT, YTB Healthcare will be granted exclusive distributorship rights in Malaysia on a vaccine procurement programme of no less than 10 million doses per annum with an option to purchase for additional 10 million doses per annum for a five-year period.

In the event of unsold doses, the surplus shall be allowed to be sold with permission in other Asean and Indian subcontinent countries.

With both the domestic and export markets, Yong Tai will start to see contribution coming from the distribution of vaccine once approval for conditional marketing authorisation is obtained.

At the close of today’s trading, Yong Tai was up 3 sen or 12.24% to 27.5 sen with 62.48 million shares traded, thus valuing the company at RM366 mil. – April 26, 2021

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE