INIX Technologies' application to supply Covid-19 vaccines yet to be received by NPRA

INIX Technologies' application to supply Covid-19 vaccines yet to be received by NPRA
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 20): INIX Technologies Holdings Bhd, whose share price shot up when it proposed to go into medical glove manufacturing in August last year, is not seeing a similar bullish momentum after its latest announcement that it is venturing into the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia dated Jan 13, the ACE Market-listed software company said it had submitted its application for registration with the Malaysian National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Ministry of Health pursuant to its earlier agreement to source vaccines for Covid-19 from China.

The company said the registration with NPRA is essential for distribution of vaccines in Malaysia. Its suppliers for the Covid-19 vaccines are Sinovac Biotech Co Ltd, CanSino Biologics Inc and Sinopharm China National Biotech Group Co Ltd, it said.

The Edge has, however, learnt that the application has not been made to NPRA despite the company's statement.

When contacted by The Edge for clarification, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there has been no application yet from this company.

The only company that has thus far received conditional registration from the NPRA for its Covid-19 vaccine is Pfizer, as updated by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin last week.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said Malaysia is expected to receive the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for the first phase at the end of February.

Currently, the government has signed a preliminary agreement with COVAX, Pfizer and AstraZeneca for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines to obtain a guarantee of vaccine supply for 40% of the population.

The prime minister said the government is also in the process of final negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya.

With vaccines from COVAX, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya, Malaysia is expected to secure vaccine supply for over 80% of the country's total population or 26.5 million.

The PM said the evaluation process would be conducted by NPRA for approval and the Drug Control Authority for the purpose of registration before the Covid-19 vaccines could be used.

INIX's plan to supply Covid-19 vaccines from China adds to the list of private sector players who are quickly positioning themselves to fill any gaps in the vaccine supply chain, notwithstanding the government's existing supply arrangement.

Still, industry experts familiar with the matter share their concern that while many companies are attempting to register vaccines, the distribution process is complicated and not as straightforward.

INIX is primarily engaged in software development, system integration, IT management consultancy and other related professional services.

On Aug 11, it announced that it planned to invest RM35 million in a factory which would pave the way for its foray into  medical rubber gloves' production.

This sent its share price, which was already building up in the days prior to the announcement, to jump from 14 sen on Aug 5 to a more than five-year high of 82 sen.

The counter ended 1.5 sen or 4.55% lower at 31.5 sen yesterday compared with the previous day's close of 33 sen, valuing the company at RM146.98 million.