The Philippine Economic Zone Authority approved the proposal of local company Savepoint Biotek Inc. to invest in a facility in Pampanga province that will manufacture oral COVID-19 vaccines using Israeli technology.
PEZA deputy director-general Tereso Panga said Savepoint is planning to initially invest P80 million, but the total project cost could reach up to P1.5 billion upon expansion.
“Right now the project has 100-percent Filipino representation. The project was approved by the board and the equity share from Filipino and Israeli partners is yet to be finalized,” Panga said.
Savepoint teamed up with Israeli company MIGAL Galilee Research Institute for the project. The oral vaccine developed by MIGAL is undergoing clinical trials, Panga said.
The project will rise at the Pampanga Economic Zone in angeles City, employ 425 employees and generate export sales of about $180 million upon full operations.
About 70 percent of the project’s output will go to Asia Pacific and African markets and the rest will be for domestic sales.
A recent post of Panga on social media platform showed that PEZA generated investments amounting to P21.8 billion from companies that are into medical equipment and medical products.
These investments created and maintained close to 20,000 direct jobs. The top three economic zone investors in the medical space are all Japanese, led by Terumo with P7.8 billion in investments; JMS Healthcare, P1.6 billion; and Arkray Industry, P727.8 million.
About 26 medical equipment/products companies are registered with PEZA and are exporting from the country’s major economic zones.
The Philippines is the third largest pharmaceutical market in the ASEAN region, behind Indonesia and Thailand. According to the ASEAN Pharma Report: Opportunities and Threats 2020 and Beyond, the Philippine pharmaceutical market is forecasted to gain a steady annual growth of 4.5 percent in the coming years.