JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The PT Kalbe Farma Tbk (KLBF) pharmaceutical company is set to tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic currently gripping Indonesia and the rest of the world, after it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with its South Korean counterpart Genexine to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
“The joint effort to develop the Covid-19 vaccine is part of Kalbe Farma’s efforts to aid the government overcome the coronavirus pandemic in Indonesia” said Kalbe Farma Director Sie Djohan in a press statement on the project, which is currently codenamed GX-19.
“I hope that successful research and development of this collaboration can help meet Indonesia’s need for a vaccine as well as nationwide demand.”
“Kalbe Farma will collaborate with [Indonesian] government institutions to develop a Covid-19 vaccine”
Kalbe Farma and Genexine are expected to start clinical tests of GX-19 on humans in June 2020, after tests on primates earlier this year showed that the experimental vaccine developed antibodies that could neutralize the novel coronavirus. The two companies will test GX-19 on small groups of people in the first phase of testing.
Positive results with the first group will expand clinical study for those with symptoms that the experimental vaccine is intended to treat. The third phase will see GX-19 tried out on thousands of people, as the vaccine is tested for its efficiency and safety.
The WHO announced that ten experimental vaccines are being clinically evaluated. Another 115 experimental vaccines are under preclinical evaluation, including GX-19.
PT Kalbe Farma Tbk and Genexine Inc. formed PT Kalbe Genexine Biologic (KGBio), a joint venture that develops raw materials for biotechnological medicines in Indonesia and manufactures them since 2016.
Genexine heads a consortium of South Korean companies collaborating with Kalbe Farma to develop the vaccine. They included Binex, the International Vaccine Institute or IVI, GenBio, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and Pohang University of Science and Technology or POSTECH.