BioNet developing whooping-cough vaccine, founds new plant in Ayutthaya
BioNet-Asia Co, a biotech company in Thailand focusing on the development, manufacturing and supply of vaccines, will resume development activities on a recombinant acellular pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in its renovated pilot plant, and is starting the construction of a large-scale vaccine factory in the Hi-Tech Industrial Estate, Ayutthaya.
The company also plans to invest about Bt8 billion over the next 10 years in plant construction and on development of vaccines and human resources.
Meanwhile, the construction of the vaccine plant is expected to be completed in 2015.
Fifteen months after the massive floods affecting Ayutthaya and its surroundings in October 2011, BioNet has reopened its production plant, which has been raised by 3 metres and includes brand-new clean-room facilities.
"We are delighted to resume the development of the first recombinant acellular pertussis vaccine," said Dr Pham Hong Thai, co-managing director of BioNet-Asia. "Our vaccine has triggered major interest worldwide. We therefore plan to prioritise this key project and to enter clinical trials soon."
Dr Jean Petre, the company's scientific director, added that the company was well advanced on several other projects. It now has more than a hundred employees working on different vaccine research projects, either in collaboration with universities in Thailand or directly on its site. For example, the dengue research-and-development building was completed last year, allowing research activities to continue on other vaccines such as those preventing dengue and hepatitis B.
BioNet recently laid the foundation stones of the largest vaccine factory in Thailand. The event was attended by the minister of public health, the minister of science and technology and prominent academics and health experts from the Department of Disease Control, Department of Medical Science, Thai Food and Drug Administration, National Vaccine Institute (Public Organisation), National Science and Technology Development Agency and Thai Red Cross Society.
Vitoon Vonghangool, BioNet-Asia's co-managing director, said this project was not only an important step for the company, but also for Thailand, since the plant aimed to produce several vaccines using the latest technologies. In addition, this project will contribute to vaccine-manufacturing self-sufficiency for Thailand. Its initial objective is to meet the needs in Southeast Asia, he said.
"We have been working with several reputable European consultants and world-leading engineering companies to ensure the project feasibility."
He said the plant would comply with World Health Organisation standards for good manufacturing practice and those of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PIC/S).