KUALA LUMPUR (June 10): Property developer Yong Tai Bhd has announced that its subsidiary YTB Healthcare Sdn Bhd (YTBH) today received the first batch of an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine developed by China-based Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co Ltd (SZKT).

The arrival of the vaccine followed the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency granting its approval for the Clinical Trial Import License (CTIL) on June 3. This also enables YTBH to roll out the phase 3 clinical trial in Malaysia.

To recap, Yong Tai is the exclusive distributor for SZKT's vaccine with a period of five years (renewable) for no less than 20 million doses yearly. The company expects this venture to create a strong income stream and contribute positively to the group.

Yong Tai chief executive officer cum executive director Datuk Wira Boo Kuang Loon said the group is happy to achieve this milestone today.

"I believe so far, we are the only private company that is able to bring a new type of Covid-19 vaccine into Malaysia, not to mention the first to commit and roll out the phase 3 clinical trial."

"Once we roll out the phase 3 clinical trial and with a few months of accelerated data, we hope to apply for the conditional registration approval, for the adoption of the vaccine. We wish to highlight that all vaccines used currently in Malaysia (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac) are under the conditional registration approval. None have completed their full trial," he added.

The group hopes that more volunteers can sign up for this trial, as more data collected will expedite the trial and ultimately get Malaysians back to normalcy through herd immunity.

The phase 3 clinical trial will enrol 3,000 subjects from Malaysia, and the subjects will receive the vaccine in two doses 28 days apart.

He noted that SZKT's vaccine has obtained the Emergency Use Authorisation granted by the government of China. SZKT has also commenced its vaccination programme in China, which has been used to vaccinate millions of Chinese citizens since June 1, 2021.

A few days ago, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said other countries involved in the clinical trial of SZKT's vaccine included Colombia, Argentina, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Ukraine.

The receiving of the vaccine was also attended by Senator Jaziri Alkaf Abdillah Suffian, YTBH's strategic partner BCA International Sdn Bhd managing director Mazliza Mahdzar and Mohd Hairon Nizam Abu Hashim.

Jaziri Alkaf said given the resurgence of Covid-19 cases recently, the supply of vaccine has become even more important in the fight against this pandemic.

In the long term,, Jaziri Alkaf said the government hopes to bring SZKT to set up a vaccine research and development centre together with a production plant in Malaysia.

"This coincides well with this locally conducted clinical trial, where data from the locals are collected. Most of the trials are conducted overseas. With a vaccine production plant in Malaysia with local data available, this will equip Malaysia with the ability to face and respond to a potential future outbreak or new diseases," he added.

At 4.15pm, Yong Tai shares price rose half a sen or 1.96% to 26 sen, for a market capitalisation of RM350 million. There were 12.62 million shares changing hands.

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