Japanese firm expands medical test kits production in PH

 Japanese group Arkray is expanding operations in the Philippines in the manufacture of medical test kits, according to the Board of Investments.

 The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has already approved two new projects of Arkray Industry Inc. and sister company Arkray Industry West Inc. entitling their operations with tax and fiscal incentive package.

Arkray Industry Inc., a subsidiary of the Japanese firm Arkray Inc., recently ventured into the production of Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Reaction (RT-PCR) Test Kits (i-densy Pack Universal Reagent and SARS-CoV-2 Detection Primer Probe Set Reagent) in its Batangas facility. The company currently employs

500 people and is projected to increase with the expansion. 

In addition, Arkray Industry Inc. and its sister company, Arkray Industry West, Inc., also announced it is increasing its production capacity of urine and blood analyzers; blood glucose test meters and its reagents, as it widened its networks and partnership with local associations, distributors and agencies. 

Arkray’s is also seriously considering the production of Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Test Cartridge and assembly of Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Reaction (RT-PCR) Testing machines in the country soon. 

“We have been seeing signs of recovery. The expansion plans of companies such as Arkray is a testament of the country’s resiliency even in times of adversities.  Truly, we can really make things happen for foreign and local investors for them to grow their businesses here amidst challenges,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who is also chairman of PEZA.

“Arkray’s recent business activity also reaffirms our competence to host activities in the production of critical medical products and devices in the country. Even during the height of the pandemic, the Philippines did not impose any export restriction of these products but rather helped capacitate the manufacturing firms to enable them to support both domestic and foreign demand” said DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued certifications for these test kits upon validation testing conducted by Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). The validation testing evaluation report indicated that the RT-PCR Test Kits are 100 percent sensitive and 100 percent specific with a 95 percent confidence interval.  

“And with the increased testing capacity of our country, the demand for testing has also increased. This policy is an opportunity for the government to regulate the prices of testing to make it more affordable and accessible to all Filipinos," Lopez said. 

The RT-PCR test kits have a short turnaround time of 1.5 hours and an accuracy rate of 90-98 percent. The kits however are currently produced only on a per order basis with the total production output depending on the demand of its clientele to maintain its accuracy considering its short shelf life. The kit is priced at P1,600.00.