• Group MD confirms Duopharma Biotech’s initiative to supply “Sputnik V” developed by Russia’s Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology is in support of Malaysia’s COVID-19 National Vaccination Plan
  • Duopharma Biotech has invested in vaccine fill & finish and cold chain facilities to align with Malaysia’s aim to advance towards developing in-country vaccines in the long term
  • Duopharma Biotech, RDIF and Gamaleya Institute are exploring the opportunity to jointly invest in R&D, local vaccine manufacturing for Malaysia and ASEAN markets.

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 JANUARY 2021 – Duopharma Biotech Berhad (“Duopharma Biotech” or “the Company”) through its wholly-owned subsidiary Duopharma (M) Sendirian Berhad (“DMSB”) has confirmed it will procure and supply to Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (“MoH”) the COVID-19 vaccine known as “Sputnik V” developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology (“Gamaleya”). 

DMSB has signed a Term Sheet Agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (“RDIF”) to secure the 6.4 million doses of “Sputnik V”. RDIF is the appointed marketing agent for Gamaleya for all international markets. RDIF has established partnerships in India, China and South Korea to manufacture the “Sputnik V” vaccine in order to cope with the global growing demand for this vaccine. Supplies of the Sputnik V vaccine could be from any of RDIF’s partners, subject to approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, Ministry of Health, Malaysia (“NPRA”).

Separate from the aforesaid Term Sheet, Duopharma Biotech, RDIF and Gamaleya Institute are exploring towards further collaboration to enhance Duopharma Biotech’s capabilities in research and development, technology transfer, local manufacturing, and supply of the vaccine to Malaysia and other ASEAN countries.

Founded in 1891, the Gamaleya runs one of the unique “virus libraries” in the world and has its own vaccine production facility. Since the 1980s, Gamaleya has led the effort to develop a technological platform using adenoviruses, initially extracted from human adenoids.

“Sputnik V” is the world’s first registered vaccine based on a well-studied human adenoviral vector-based platform. It has a unique approach that enables boosting of the immune response and providing long lasting immunity. It is 92% effective, based on late-stage trial results. Named after the Soviet satellite that ushered in the space age, “Sputnik V” had already inoculated more than 200,000 people across Russia by mid-December 2020. More than 50 countries have reportedly made requests for more than 1.2 billion doses of “Sputnik V”. “Sputnik V” is administered via two doses, and made up of two different components, 21 days apart and in liquid form.

Subsequently, DMSB has also entered into a Term Sheet Agreement with the MOH to supply 6.4 million doses to vaccinate 3.2 million Malaysians. Supply of the “Sputnik V” vaccine will be in phases over a period within 2021. The supply is subject to the “Sputnik V” vaccine being approved by Drug Control Authority, Malaysia through technical evaluation by the NPRA. The supply is also subject to the execution of the definitive supply agreement between RDIF and DMSB and the definitive supply agreement between MOH and DMSB. Furthermore, DMSB will also provide warehousing, logistics, ground support and other services to the Government Hospitals and Clinics.

Confirming the Company’s state of readiness and alignment with the Government’s COVID-19 immunisation programme, Duopharma Biotech Group Managing Director, Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar commented: “Duopharma Biotech’s latest initiative fully supports the COVID-19 National Vaccination Plan. Our investment in vaccine fill & finish facilities and cold chain distribution synchronously aligns both with the Government’s recently announced aim to develop in-country vaccines in the long term to reduce dependency on other countries.”  

Leonard Ariff further commented: “Moving forward, we have in place an existing inert human vaccine fill & finish line at our plant in Klang, and it is ready to be used. We are also positioning ourselves to upgrade our facility to ensure the equipment will accommodate the localisation of vaccine manufacturing in Malaysia, which consequently can increase vaccine accessibility, reduce dependency on importation, and ensure long-term self-sufficiency of vaccines for the country. This is in line with our mission to become a leading healthcare group providing quality and innovative solutions.”