Malaysia is hoping to produce the world’s first halal vaccine in less than three years in a collaboration with a Saudi company.
Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC) CEO Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin said Malaysia will set up a halal vaccine facility for meningitis under a RM120 million joint-venture (JV) project with Saudi-based AJ Pharma Holdings that is also expected to lead to the development of other halal vaccines.
He said the market potential for the halal meningitis vaccine is huge among the global Muslim population.
“Malaysia wants to encourage and establish a desirable condition for an Islamic bioeconomy cluster region. The RM120 million investments by AJ Biologics Sdn Bhd is a landmark entrance to Malaysia’s vaccine industry,” Jamil told The Malaysian Reserve.
Jamil said the halal vaccine facility would also reduce healthcare costs and provide a catalyst to spark off similar halal bio-economy projects.
“We (HDC) are providing the facilities and infrastructure for the Saudi firm at Enstek Halal Park, Negri Sembilan, for the halal vaccine production. “We are optimistic to see the release of first halal vaccine for meningitis within 21?2 years,” he said.
Last week, HDC and AJ Pharma’s subsidiary AJ Biologics inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to materialise the long awaited halal vaccine project.
AJ Biologics which is a flagship investment of AJ Pharma, was established to address opportunities in Malaysia and Asia with regard to vaccines. It is a manufacturing facility, with formulation, fill and finish, and packaging capabilities.
The MoU is to facilitate and promote the potential areas of development in halal vaccine covering areas such as industry development, halal integrity and branding and promotion.
“Under this halal vaccine initiative, the sources of vaccines on whether it is plant-based or animal-based will be identified. I believe there will be a high demand for halal vaccines, not only among Muslims but also non-Muslims,” he said.
Through the collaboration too, HDC has been appointed member of the Vaccine International Advisory Board (VACCIAB), established via an unrestricted research and education grant from AJ Biologics.
VACCIAB comprises reputable subject matter experts which include professionals from healthcare, epidemiology, pharmaceuticals, bio pharmaceuticals, finance industry and government representatives.
Earlier in April, Jamil mentioned in World Halal Week 2014 that three halal vaccines are in focus of local and international scientists and Shariah experts to treat meningitis, hepatitis and meningococcal.
Jamil also said vaccines especially for meningitis that are required for those who perform the haj pilgrimage are currently pork-based and that halal vaccines may offer the alternative for the people.
HDC was established in September 2006 to coordinate the overall development of the halal industry in Malaysia. It is an agency under the purview of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
The project is a holistic response to the worldwide demand for halal products and services through halal standards facilitation, capacity building programmes and enhance growth and participation of Malaysian companies in the multi-trillion dollar global halal market.