A Pakistani pharmaceutical company has struck a deal with a Chinese giant that will allow it to manufacture vaccines against COVID-19 in Pakistan.

The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) was notified of this in a letter by M/s Searle Company Limited, which said the company had concluded an agreement with China’s Livzon Mapharm Inc. for manufacturing the novel coronavirus vaccine (V-01) in Pakistan.

“Searle Company has concluded an exclusive licensing and supply agreement with Livzon Mapharm Inc. for the Recombinant Novel Coronavirus Vaccine (V-01). The licensing agreement also covers the manufacturing transition of (V-01) in Pakistan,” the letter said.

The company said the vaccine had shown promising results in phase I and II clinical trials, and the third phase of trials will be conducted across multiple countries, enrolling more than 20,000 participants.

“The Recombinant Novel Covid-19 Vaccine (V-01) developed by Livzon has shown promising results in phase I and II clinical trials,” the letter said. “The phase III clinical study will include multiple countries and enroll more than 20,000 subjects, with the aim to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of the V-01 programme.”

The company said it looked forward to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) granting approval to conduct phase III trials of the vaccine in Pakistan.

“Searle is confident that in the existing pandemic, the relevant authorities will take up the matter on [an] urgent basis and support for fast-track approval to carry out phase III clinical trials in Pakistan,” the company added.

At present, the DRAP has approved the use of four vaccines in the country. These are from Chinese manufacters Sinopharm and CansinoBIO, the Russian Sputnik V, and Oxford University’s AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Sinopharm vaccine is currently being administered to healthcare workers and citizens aged above 60 across the country, while registerations have opened for those aged over 50.


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