China’s Sino Biopharmaceutical invests $687 million in Sinovac to boost vaccine production

Sinovac Biotech said it expects to be able to manufacture 300 million vaccine doses annually. PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's Sinovac Biotech has secured US$515 million (S$687.15 million) in funding from a local firm to double production capacity of its coronavirus vaccine, the companies said on Monday (Dec 7), as it expects efficacy data of its experimental shot this month.

The investment deal also comes as Sinovac expands supply deals and trials of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine CoronaVac with more countries following positive results from early to mid-stage clinical trials.

China's Sino Biopharmaceutical Limited said on Monday a business unit will invest US$515 million in Sinovac Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Sinovac, to help development and production of CoronaVac.

The investment will give Sino Biopharmaceutical a 15.03 per cent interest in Sinovac Life Sciences, Sino Biopharmaceutical said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Sinovac said in a separate statement that it would be able to manufacture 300 million vaccine doses annually and aims to complete construction of a second production facility by the end of 2020 to increase annual Covid-19 vaccine production capacity to 600 million doses.

Depending on market conditions and the availability of financing, it may seek to further expand its production capacity, Sinovac said.

Sinovac has secured CoronaVac supply deals with several countries including Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and Chile, and is holding talks with the Philippines for a potential sale.

CoronaVac is also one of three experimental Covid-19 vaccines China has been using to inoculate around 1 million people under an emergency use programme.

Brazil's Butantan Institute biomedical centre, which is running a Phase 3 trial of CoronaVac in the country, said last week that Sinovac was expected to publish efficacy results from its vaccine trials by Dec 15.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.