A medical worker prepares a dose of dummy vaccine during a vaccination simulation in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, on Des 18, 2020. (Antara Photo/Jojon)
Kalbe Is Hopeful Genexine's Covid-19 Vaccine Ready by Q3 2021
BY :FARID FIRDAUS
DECEMBER 27, 2020
Jakarta. Kalbe Farma, Indonesia's largest listed pharmaceutical company by market capitalization, is hopeful that a Covid-19 vaccine the company help develop with South Korea's Genexine would be ready for emergency use by September next year, potentially adding a lucrative business to the company's line amid its aggressive expansions.
The vaccine has cleared the first clinical trial phase. Kalbe Farma helped prepare the second clinical trial, which typically involves more subjects than the first, to assess the vaccine's proper dosage. Genexine plans to run the trial in Indonesia and South Korea.
"We are entering into phase two clinical trials, which will be in coordination with the Food and Drug Control Agency (BPOM). We estimate the trial will begin in the first quarter of 2021," Vidjongtius, Kalbe Farma's president director, said in a recent press conference.
Kalbe Farma is among local pharmaceutical companies that help develop the Covid-19 vaccine in Indonesia. State-owned Bio Farma had worked with China's Sinovac Biotech to run a phase-three clinical trial involving more than 6,200 people in Bandung, West Java, since September.
Bio Farma has also secured a deal to make Sinovac's vaccine in the company's facility for the domestic market, should Sinovac's vaccine get a permit for emergency use from BPOM.
Health Ministry has named six companies — including Moderna, Pfizer-BioNtech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Bio Farma, and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).— from which the government could procure Covid-19 vaccines for use to vaccinate at least 107 million people in Indonesia by the end of next year.
Although Kalbe Farma nor Genexine have yet to be included in the ministry's list, Vidjongtius said the company kept the authorities in the loop regarding their vaccine development.
He said Kalbe Farma involved the University of Indonesia, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), and the Health Ministry to supervise the trial.
If the whole process runs smoothly, the company hoped to get a permit for emergency use in the third quarter of 2021, he said.
The $4.9 billion company has been spending big in the past few years to expand its business and plans to keep investing big in the next three years. Bernadus Karmin Winata, Kalbe Farma's financial director, said the company would allocate at least Rp 1 trillion ($71 million) in capital expenditure per year until 2023.
Kalbe Farma expanded all of its business lines, including prescription drugs, health products, nutritional products, and distribution and logistics. "The peak of the company's capital expenditure has occurred in 2019, which amounted to Rp 1.5 trillion. So, in 2021, 2022, and 2033, we will not have a capital expenditure as big as 2019," Bernardus said.
The company currently sits on Rp 4 trillion of cash at the end of September, but the management is also preparing other options to raise more funds for expansion.
Previously, Bloomberg reported that Kalbe Farma was preparing its subsidiary Sanghiang Perkasa for an initial public offering (IPO) to raise at least $500 million at Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX).
Kalbe Farma had restructured its nutrition businesses under Sanghiang Perkasa in September by selling its shares 51 percent in Kalbe Milko Indonesia, and 70 percent shares Kalbe Morinaga Indonesia to the subsidiary for Rp 44.9 billion and Rp 265 billion, respectively. Ongkie Tedjasurja, previously a marketing director at the parent company, now leads Sanghiang Perkasa as president director.
Kalbe Milko is a joint venture between Kalbe and a local milk producer Milko Beverage Industry, while Kalbe Morinaga is a joint venture with Tokyo-based Morinaga Milk Industry. Today, all Kalbe Farma's nutritional brands like Diabetasol, Prenagen, Entrasol, Milna, and Fitbar are under Sanghiang Perkasa.