Leonard (second right) exchanges the MOU with KPJ Healthcare executive director Jasimah Hassan (second left). Looking on are Pharmaserv Alliances Sdn Bhd general manager Zainal Abidin Lajat (left) and Duopharma Biotech chief operating officer Wan Amir-Jeffret Wan Abdul Majid.

KUCHING: Duopharma Biotech Bhd (Duopharma Biotech) further strengthened its leadership in halal pharmaceuticals by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KPJ Healthcare Bhd (KPJ) to collaborate and cooperate in exploring mutually beneficial initiatives and awareness activities relating to halal pharmaceuticals.

Duopharma Biotech, formerly known as CCM Duopharma Biotech Bhd, signed this collaboration during the unveiling of its new corporate logo and name at an external rebranding launch. The company obtained shareholders’ approval for the new corporate identity earlier this year.

Jalil Rasheed, president and chief executive of PNB, officially launched the new corporate logo and name, witnessed by Tan Sri Siti Sa’diah Binti Sh Bakir, chairman of Duopharma Biotech, as well as other board members, including Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar, group managing director of Duopharma Biotech.

Under the MoU, both parties will work closely in mutual areas of interest, and to facilitate each other in the area of halal pharmaceuticals, specifically in promoting and creating awareness, to provide and establish clear guidelines on prescribing halal pharmaceutical products, developing expertise and resources in halal pharmaceuticals.

“This year marks a milestone for our halal journey as this is the 20th anniversary of our achievement in receiving the first halal certification for our over-the-counter (OTC) products from Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) back in 1999.

“We will continue to intensify our focus on halal pharmaceuticals as we believe the demand for such products is growing, and it also provides Duopharma Biotech with a differentiated offering amongst generics manufacturers. Our collaboration with KPJ Healthcare Berhad signifies our intent towards this objective,” said Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar, Group Managing Director of Duopharma Biotech.

“KPJ Healthcare Berhad is a well-known healthcare provider in Malaysia and the region, and we feel proud to collaborate with KPJ on this halal pharmaceuticals initiative. I believe that there are synergies that both parties can leverage on in the halal pharmaceuticals space,” he added.

The halal pharmaceutical industry globally is a multi-billion-dollar industry with expenditures of US$75 billion in 2017. It is expected to grow to an estimated US$132 billion by 2021. Malaysia is fast becoming recognised as the leading global halal hub, as well as the global reference and trade centre for the mainstream halal industry.

Duopharma Biotech, which is majority owned by Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), is the largest Malaysian pharmaceutical manufacturer and trading company.

“Duopharma Biotech has been in the market for many years, producing and supplying high quality prescription drugs for both the public and private markets in Malaysia. We also produce various consumer healthcare products which are household names such as Flavettes, Champs, Uphamol and Proviton, amongst others,” said Leonard.

“This rebranding initiative coincides with the implementation of a corporate growth strategy which includes focusing on building a biosimilar portfolio of products starting with erythropoietin (EPO), which was co-developed with our partner PanGen Biotech, successfully registered in Malaysia, as well as in South Korea,” he added.

As part of its growth strategy, Duopharma Biotech will soon commence operations of a High Potent Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (HAPI) facility producing oncology drugs for the Malaysian as well as regional markets.

“One of our key strategies is to ensure accessibility to much needed cancer and other drugs. We have identified strong and proven technologies and partners to collaborate in delivering these products to the patients,” Leonard further elaborated.