A local pharmaceutical company, the Searle Company Limited, has signed a deal with a Chinese firm allowing it to supply and produce a coronavirus vaccine in Pakistan, the company said on Thursday in a letter to the Pakistan Stock Exchange.
Earlier this week, Pakistan said it would import China’s Cansino Biologics COVID-19 vaccine in bulk to package three million doses locally.
Pakistan began a vaccination drive last February with over a million doses of Sinopharm vaccines donated by long-time ally China. A million doses bought from Sinopharm arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday and the other half would arrive on Thursday, the health chief had said.
“The Searle Company Limited has successfully concluded an exclusive licensing & supply agreement with Livzon Mapharm Inc. for the recombinant novel coronavirus vaccine (V-01),” the company’s letter, dated April 1, said. “The licensing agreement also covers the manufacturing transition of (V-01) in Pakistan.”
The vaccine, the letter added, had shown promising results in phase I and II clinical trials. The phase III trial would include multiple countries and enrol more than 20,000 subjects.
“Searle is confident that in existing pandemic, the relevant authorities will take up the matter on urgent basis & support fast-track approval to carry out phase III clinical trials in Pakistan,” the letter added.