Pharmaniaga's foray into Myanmar opens doors

KUALA LUMPUR: Pharmaniaga Bhd's successful foray into Myanmar with its Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine bodes well for its strategy to expand its vaccine distribution business beyond the local sector.

The pharmaceuticals group announced on Monday it had successfully exported the first batch of fill-finish Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines to Myanmar, manufactured by its wholly owned subsidiary Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd.

Under its collaboration with Myanmar-based Hemas Mandalar Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Pharmaniaga will supply 200,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines in a few stages to two private hospitals in Yangon owned by Hemas Mandalar.

In a Nov 16 note, MIDF Research reiterated a comment by Pharmaniaga group managing director Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope that the collaboration could fortify Pharmaniaga’s established international business relationships, and consequently develop future businesses in vaccine distribution.

"The successful export had given Pharmaniaga ample assurance to explore similar opportunities in other countries in the Southeast Asia region, as well as in Africa.

"The group is also awaiting regulatory permissions in other countries for the sale and distribution of Sinovac," it said.

The research firm said Pharmaniaga's initiative to expand overseas was informed by the successful roll out of Malaysia's national immunisation programme.

The programme is currently way ahead of schedule, with over 90% of the adult population and 70% of adolescents aged from 12 to 17 being fully vaccinated.

Myanmar, in contrast, has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the world and the lowest capacity for vaccinations with only 15% of its population being fully vaccinated.

"We opine that, with the initiative taken by Pharmaniaga to distribute its fill-finish Sinovac vaccines beyond the local population, the number of vaccinated persons would increase, subsequently curbing infection rates in Southeast Asia faster than expected," said MIDF.

However, it noted that the initiative and its success is subject to approval by authorities.

MIDF has left its earnings forecast for Pharmaniaga unchanged as it believes the current collaboration with Myanmar has already been factored in the current quarter.

Nevertheless, it is long-term positive on the group's prospects given its strategies in providing access to its pharmaceuticals and increasing their capacities and capabilities.

It maintained its "buy" call with an unchanged target price of 98 sen.
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