KUALA LUMPUR: The world’s first halal vaccine facility with gross development value (GDV) of RM330 million in Bandar Enstek will put Malaysia as an international player on the vaccine map, once operational in early 2018.

Dr Tabassum Khan, Managing director of AJ Pharma Holding Sdn Bhd, the owner of facility, said the plant would be developed by GB Asiatic Ventures Sdn Bhd and its strategic partner, China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC).

He said the “formulation, fill and finish state-of-the-art facility” placed under AJ Biologics Sdn Bhd was expected to produce over 1,000 vaccines in the country, five years from now.

“With this facility, it will be easier and quicker to export vaccines produced from Malaysia than other neighbouring countries in the region, as the country is also a member of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Corporation Scheme (PICS).

“In Western Asia, none of the countries is a member of PICS, so when we were invited to set up the facility by the Malaysian government, it was a win-win strategy for both parties as we wanted to expand and the government wants to have its own homegrown vaccines,” Dr Tabassum told Bernama.

To kick start construction in March 2016, the facility which is sited on a 1.82-hectare land will cater 25 per cent of its production to fulfil the needs of the Malaysian vaccine market.

It will produce all basic types of vaccines for children as well as specialised vaccines for immunisation programmes.

“About 75 per cent of the production will be exported, which will reduce Malaysia’s direct imports on vaccines while at the same time creating more job opportunities for the locals within the plant site,” he said.

AJ Pharma Holding is a subsidiary of Al-Jomaih Group and was established to focus on investments in the healthcare and biotechnology sectors in Malaysia and the surrounding region.

The group is among the top 10 conglomerates in Saudi Arabia with a revenue about US$3 billion (RM12.9 billion) in the kingdom, and it has committed to invest up to RM500 million in Malaysia’s halal pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.