ACE Market-listed Kanger International Berhad is looking to diversify its business proposition and venture into the hottest topic in the world at the moment, Covid-19 vaccine. The company which is known for its bamboo flooring manufacturing and distribution in Europe and China is partnering China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) to distribute the vaccines to the private sector.
In an announcement, the company has stated that it has gotten signed letter from the National Institutes of Biotechnology Malaysia (“NIBM”), an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia (“MOSTI”) to pursue with the intention. Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at NIBM, encouraged Sinopharm to lend its support and assistance to Kanger as it is a positive step towards facing the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia. He had previously emphasised the importance for Malaysia to get a safe and effective vaccine and to ensure vulnerable groups, which make up 20 percent of the population, get the coverage needed in a timely manner.
This comes of the back on news of positive trials of vaccines in Europe and US, experts expect the availability to be in somewhere between Q1 to Q2 next year. China who is a member of WHO has committed to supply Malaysia when the vaccine is ready, globally WHO anticipates shortage with not all nations getting the first batch from European pharma’s. Malaysia might need to wait a bit longer under the Covax program, but with private sectors closing deals directly with pharmaceuticals, the access to vaccines could be hastened.
Kanger had already announced its aims to venture into the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and signed a collaboration agreement with Sinopharm Group Hunan Changde Medical Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Sinopharm, for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, is the largest and oldest biotech company in China. The pharma has developed two Covid-19 vaccines which have already entered Phase 3 trials, which is the final stage before being approved for general use, in more than 10 countries. So far, nearly a million people worldwide have received Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use.
A main concern with European vaccines is the temperature they have to be stored, however, Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccines can be transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. This is a big plus on the Chinese vaccine, to handle distribution and storage, Kanger will work with Zuellig Pharma who incidentally is the the largest vaccine distributor in Malaysia and Asia.