Hong Seng inks distribution deal with RPM for China's Covid-19 vaccine

KUALA LUMPUR: Hong Seng Consolidated Bhd (HSC), through subsidiary HS Bio Supplies Sdn Bhd, has entered into a unincorporated consortium agreement with RP Integrated Bhd's unit Royce Pharma Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (RPM).

The companies will work together to pursue distributorship and opportunities relating to medicinal drugs and Covid-19 vaccine distributed by Shanghai's Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd (Fosun), for Malaysia and Southeast Asia markets.

HSC said the parties had been invited to jointly issue a letter of intent to Fosun via HS Bio following positive meetings and discussions with Fosun's representatives.

"Apart from our partnership with RPM on the distributorship from Fosun, HS Bio is also in progressive discussions with Chongqing Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd for distributorship of their medical and healthcare products.

"We believe that once the distributorships are secured, it will be a breakthrough accomplishment for HS Bio and a safety net for Malaysians as it will help us to combat the latest wave of infections with the availability of the vaccine," HSC chairman Datuk Teoh Hai Hin said in a statement today.

HS Bio is a medical supplies and healthcare related services supply chain management specialist.

RPM is one of the oldest and most established pharmaceutical companies in Malaysia and has been producing and marketing over 100 products that cover the various major lines of drugs.

Fosun is a leading healthcare group in China and focuses on pharmaceutical manufacturing and research and development.

The company has entered late-stage clinical trials for the mRNA vaccine against coronavirus co-developed with a German Biotech company BioNTech, and a US Pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The vaccine could be available for mass inoculations sometime end of this year or beginning next year, if successful.

RPM president and chief executive officer Zainal Ariff Mahmood said even if the company was granted the distributorships, there was still a few steps involved.

It has to obtain the relevant product approvals and registrations with National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency and thereafter work with Pharmaniaga Bhd and the authorities in the proper dissemination of the vaccine.

"This is because for distribution of vaccines, private sector companies who are not accredited and licenced have to work with a pharmaceutical company otherwise it may not happen.

"Therefore, since RPM is properly licenced, accredited with full facilities for handling of medical products and drugs and has been a long standing pharmaceutical group, we have the capacity and resources to provide support in the registration of products, to work with authorities and other pharmaceutical related tasks; and to work with Pharmaniaga on the logistics and network access as part of our role in the consortium with HS Bio," he said.

HS Bio will be responsible in supporting products registration, liaising with the relevant parties from China as well as, providing financing and third and fourth party logistics services.

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