MANILA – Dr. Zen Biotech, Inc., one of the vaccine manufacturer leads of the Board of Investments (BOI), is constructing a facility for production of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid--19) jabs at the First Bulacan Industrial Estate in Malolos City. 
In his presentation to President Rodrigo Duterte Thursday night, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the pharmaceutical company’s project will have a total project cost of USD40 million (PHP1.9 billion) --USD20 million each for Phase 1 and Phase 2.
To be operational by 2022, the Dr. Zen’s facility is located in the economic zone in Bulacan that is eyed to be the Philippine first pharmaceutical economic zone.
The pharmaceutical firm will produce second-generation recombinant vaccines for Covid-19 that uses more advanced or different technology compared to the original vaccines.
Current technology providers for Dr. Zen are from India and China.
The company is also looking into possible partnership with United States-based vaccine manufacturers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Lopez also presented to Duterte that IG Biotech, Inc. and IP Biotech want to produce Covid-19 vaccines, influenza multivalent vaccines, and pneumococcal polyvalent vaccines in the country.
IG Biotech is a pharmaceutical trader while IP Biotech is engaged in manufacturing activities, he said.
The two companies will sign a memorandum of understanding with BOI and the National Development Company (NDC), which are both chaired by the DTI chief.
“With all this indication, interest to produce in the Philippines, of course they need our support,” Lopez said.
Among the requests of the pharmaceutical firms to the national government is the fast processing of their applications, and for the government to buy vaccines from these potential Covid-19 local manufacturers.
Duterte vowed that the government will support the potential Covid-19 manufacturers in the country. (PNA)