PH talks with foreign developers, local firms on ‘fill-and-finish’ vaccine manufacturing now ‘expanding’ —DOST

Published October 23, 2021, 5:04 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The foreign vaccine developers that will be assisting local pharmaceutical companies in setting up a “fill and finish” facility for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines may be known soon, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Saturday, Oct. 23.


This, after the negotiations between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), local firms, and “vaccine originators” have expanded.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development (R&D) Rowena Cristina Guevara said they were in talks with local pharmaceutical firms that expressed interest to pour in their resources to set up a local vaccine industry, particularly on fill-and-finish vaccine manufacturing arrangements.

“Ngayon, dalawa ‘yung kausap natin, ‘yung local pharmaceutical company na siyang magpro-produce nitong vaccines, nakausap na natin ‘yan, Mayroon tayong pito na naghihintay ng final word diyan. ‘Yung kabila naman ay yung tinatawag nating vaccine originator. (Now, we are talking to two, the local pharmaceutical company that would produce these vaccines, we have already talked to them. We have seven firms that are waiting for the final word. The other side is what we call the vaccine originator),” she said during the Laging Handa briefing.

“Tandaan nyo po hindi po tayo marunong magdevelop ng vaccine sa ating bansa kaya kailangan po natin magkaroon ng foreign partner na syang panggagalingan ng bakuna na i-mamanufacture natin dito (Please remember that we do not know how to develop vaccines in our country, so we need to have a foreign partner that is the source of the vaccines which we would manufacture here),” she added.

Guevara, who leads the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES), announced in April this year that at least two local pharmaceutical companies could possibly produce their own COVID-19 vaccines by “end of 2022” under a fill-and-finish vaccine manufacturing arrangements.

She said out of the six companies that expressed their interest to go into manufacturing of vaccines in the country, two were aggressively pushing their plan to produce coronavirus vaccines.


The DOST started talks with the private sector as early as 2020.

“Sa tinataya po ng mga usapang nakikita ko between DTI and itong mga company, lumalawig na po ang usapan nila at lumilinaw na kung sino po sa ating mga vaccine originators ang willing pong magdala dito noong bulk antigen na ipa-partner natin sa local manufacturer na syang magfi-fill and finish muna (Based on the discussions as I see it between DTI and these companies, their discussions are expanding and it is getting clear which of the vaccine originators that are willing to bring here the bulk antigen and would partner with the local manufacturer for the fill-and-finish),” Guevara said.

Guevara had explained that the vaccine production under fill-and-finish vaccine manufacturing arrangements can be completed “in less than two years”.

She said that fill-and-finish is the last part of the manufacturing process where you put that vaccine in a vial, ampule or single-shot syringe for commercial distribution.

In late March, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez identified the six firms that were planning to venture into local vaccine manufacturing. These were Greentech, Glovax Biotech, IG Biotech, New Marketlink, Lloyds Laboratories, and Unilab.