The pharmaceutical group of companies Yuria-Pharm is considering the possibility of localizing vaccine production in Ukraine.
Director General of Yuria-Pharm pharmaceutical corporation Dmytro Derkach told Interfax-Ukraine that the company is actively working on the issue of providing the Ukrainian population with vaccines, including the vaccine against COVID-19.
“Five years ago, construction began on a new plant in Cherkasy with a total area of more than 25,000 square meters, which provides for high-tech aseptic production and production of biotechnological products. The workshops of the new production site have been launched starting in 2020,” he said.
According to Derkach, the construction of the new facility became possible “thanks to the principle that the company has adhered to since its inception: to reinvest over 80% of profits in new directions, which is more than $25 million per year, and also thanks to a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD ) obtained in 2020.
He said that a prerequisite for the development of the production of biotechnological products was the developments of its own Biotech R&D, in particular, a technological platform for the development and pilot production of recombinant protein products, monoclonal antibodies. In addition, a hardware and methodological base was established to ensure quality control of biopharmaceuticals and vaccines, both of our own production and solutions of contract partners.
Yuria-Pharm is also testing its own platform for the development of RNA-based drugs as an effective, modern, safe and fast drug development method, which, in particular, has been used by companies that have become pioneers in the development of an RNA vaccine against COVID-19.
“We are now actively working on the issue of finding partners for the transfer of technology for the production of vaccines from COVID-19 to our new production site. We have selected a pool of companies for this, including from the United States and China, whose development is in the late stages, in particular in the third phase of clinical trials. We are negotiating with them to select a potential candidate for technology transfer and provide them with our production facilities,” Derkach said.
The director general of the group clarified: “We are not developing our own vaccine, since at present there are more than 130 companies in the world at various stages of developing a vaccine against COVID-19, so we are looking for a candidate among them.”
But at the same time, he believes that the pharmaceutical industry of Ukraine should be potentially ready for the transfer and industrial production of vaccines, the development of which will eventually be offered by domestic research institutes.
The group of companies Yuria-Pharm is included in the list of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Ukraine. The main areas of activity are the development (R&D,) production, marketing and distribution of drugs and medical products.
Yuria-Pharm LLC is a member of the Association of Manufacturers of Medications of Ukraine (AMMU).
Ukraine has registered a Chinese vaccine against COVID-19, CoronaVac made by Sinovac Biotech Ltd, its authorized Ukrainian representative, the Kyiv-based Lekhim told Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday.
Under its contract with the Health Ministry for 1.9 million doses of the Chinese vaccine, Lekhim is to supply the first 700,000 doses this month.
Lekhim Group and Sinovac Biotech reached the agreement after ten months of talks over cooperation on the distribution and localization of the vaccine production for a five-year period.
Earlier, Ukraine registered the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
An Oxford/AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine for emergency medical use against coronavirus (COVID-19) was registered in Ukraine on Monday, the Health Ministry’s press service said.
During a press briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday, Deputy Health Minister Yaroslav Kucher said the vaccine will arrive in Ukraine in the morning on Tuesday.
Previously, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use has already been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the UK, EU and India have also given permission for its use.
Oxford/AstraZeneca (Covishield) applied for registration with the State Expert Center of the Health Ministry on February 15. Ukraine has a law that simplifies the registration procedure for COVID-19 vaccines and reduces it to five working days.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the Indian partners for the delivery of the first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca (CoviShield) vaccine to Ukraine.
In a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, the head of state also promised to start vaccination of the population against coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ukraine “as soon as possible.”
“The first 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Ukraine. We appreciate the Indian partners for their support. We will start vaccination as soon as possible. We need to fight COVID-19 together,” Zelensky said.
The COVID-19 crisis has taken a heavy toll on human life, as well as damaged economies and livelihoods. Vaccines have emerged as the best way to ensure not only public health security, but also restore economic sectors affected by the crisis. In this context, the Government of Ukraine had reached out to the Government of India for support.
Given India and Ukraine’s multifaceted and strong bilateral relations, the Embassy of India in Ukraine, with the support of the Government of India, has facilitated the supply of vaccines to Ukraine in February, in order to initiate Ukraine’s public vaccination drive. Ukraine is one of the early countries to receive vaccine from India in February.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a personal request to Prime Minister Modi. In addition, sustained efforts by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine in collaboration with the Ambassador of India in Ukraine Partha Satpathy have ensured that necessary agreements and permissions could be concluded on time for supply the first tranche of vaccines- 500,000 doses of Astra-Zeneca and Serum Institute of India developed COVISHIELD vaccine.
Going forward, larger quantities of Made in India vaccines are expected to be supplied as production is ramped up in India. There is regular contact between the Governments of Ukraine and India, and with vaccine manufacturers, to secure more vaccines for Ukraine. This supply of vaccine is another exemplar of the major role played by Indian pharmaceutical industry in ensuring the health security of Ukraine.
Ambassador’s meeting with Health Minister Maksym Stepanov
Minister of Health of Ukraine Maksym Stepanov has left from Boryspil Airport to India to conduct direct negotiations with manufacturers on additional volumes of Oxford/AstraZeneca and NovaVax vaccines in 2021-2022.
“Kyiv-Dubai-Delhi-Pune. I will be at my destination place in Pune in 17 hours. We are preparing for negotiations with the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world – Serum Institute of India,” Stepanov wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday evening.
According to him, the pandemic will be a global problem for the next several years.
“We understand that it is necessary to contract additional volumes now,” the minister said.
“The main task is to reach the already contracted 12 million doses, to reach direct agreements for the supply of additional volumes of Oxford/AstraZeneca and NovaVax vaccines in 2021-2022 directly with the manufacturer,” Stepanov emphasized.
He also noted that he will personally control the dispatch of the first batch. “The importance of the cargo obliges,” the head of the department added.