Belgium-based life sciences firm Univercells is interested in pursuing vaccine manufacturing projects in the Philippines, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Photo Insert: Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Jose Castillo, CEO of Quantoom Biosciences, a subsidiary of Univercells, and the rest of the DTI delegation at the company's headquarters in Belgium.
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual met with Jose Castillo, CEO of Quantoom Biosciences, a subsidiary of Univercells, during his three-week trip in Europe.
The DTI said officials of Univercells expressed keen interest in partnering with the Philippines for its Vaccine Self Reliance Program (VSRP) and the development of the Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP). Univercells currently does not have any existing operations in Asia.
According to the DTI, these collaborations would contribute to the Philippines’ goal of achieving vaccine self-reliance and advancing the field of virology within the country. The DTI chief said the establishment of the VSRP and the VIP are top priorities of the Marcos administration.
“The capability to manufacture vaccines is of utmost importance as vaccines play a crucial role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and strengthening the country’s pharmaceutical industry,” Pascual said.
“By manufacturing it domestically, we can ensure a steady supply of vaccines to protect our population as well as improve our technological capabilities in the sector,” he added. Pascual also stated that the advantages of domestic vaccine manufacturing include increased affordability and accessibility compared to imported vaccines.
He also acknowledged that locally produced vaccines contribute to economic growth by creating employment opportunities and facilitating the transfer of advanced technology in the health and life sciences sectors.
“One of the top priorities of the Philippines in terms of gathering investments is the manufacturing of vaccines and biologics, which is part of our health and life sciences priority cluster. With this, we aim to establish security in addressing current and future health emergencies and pandemics. And this can be done if the country will be able to position itself as a manufacturing hub for vaccines,” Pascual said.