KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — Bintai Kinden Corp Bhd, an engineering and construction company, has signed a distribution and licensing agreement with an American health care firm for a Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia.
Bintai Kinden announced on Bursa Malaysia last Tuesday that its subsidiary, Bintai Healthcare Sdn Bhd, has signed a US$12.625 million (RM52.4 million) deal with US-based Generex Biotechnology Corp and its subsidiary NuGenerex Immuno-Oncology Inc, which has been working to develop a peptide vaccine against the coronavirus using synthetic peptides (peptides are smaller versions of proteins).
Under the agreement, Bintai Kinden will pay Generex US$2,625,000 for the pre-commercialisation stage, including US$2 million upon execution of the distribution and licensing agreement, and US$10 million for the commercialisation stage.
It is unknown if Generex’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine has been tested in human trials; there is little international news coverage of its vaccine. Generex’s website provides no information about clinical studies on its experimental Ii-Key coronavirus vaccine; the latest publication it listed was a 2019 paper on peptide vaccines in breast cancer patients.
National Geographic reported that more than 150 Covid-19 vaccines are in development worldwide, including fewer than 10 candidates in large Phase 3 trials to test for efficacy and safety. Some Covid-19 vaccine candidates use the whole coronavirus in a killed state; others use just part of the virus, either a protein or a fragment; some transfer coronavirus proteins into a different virus that is unlikely or incapable of causing disease; and yet some other vaccines under development deploy pieces of the coronavirus’ genetic material.
“We have a number of exciting initiatives that I am eager to present, and our closing of the Bintai Kinden licensing and distribution agreement for our COVID-19 Complete Vaccine.
“We are excited that we now have the money to advance our Ii-Key vaccine through the clinical and regulatory process, and as always, we welcome questions from shareholders during the call,” Generex president and CEO Joseph Moscato said in a statement yesterday ahead of the company’s investor conference call.
According to the agreement with Generex signed on October 5, Bintai Kinden has been given the right to purchase the vaccine in naked vial form and given royalties and distribution or licensing, upon approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and relevant Malaysian authorities.
In the event where the market is significantly large which makes it commercially viable and financially appropriate to carry out local manufacturing, the parties will enter into a manufacturing agreement.
It will also have the right of first refusal to commercially exploit the vaccine within New Zealand, Australia, and the global halal market.
This agreement was made in relation to the memorandum of understanding and heads of agreement signed by the companies back in August and September.
The share price of Bintai Kinden — whose chairman Kamaruzzaman Shariff is a former civil servant and then-Kuala Lumpur Mayor from 1995 to 2001 — has increased by more than six times since August when the company announced its venture into a Covid-19 vaccine, The Edge reported.
Earlier this week, CodeBlue reported that Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research has highlighted political ties in Covid-19 vaccine deals in the Asia Pacific region, including Malaysia, where a Malaysian bamboo product company, Kanger International Berhad, has signed a three-year licence agreement with China’s Sinopharm for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine. Kanger’s chairman is Johor Umno deputy chief Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
The agreement was to promote, distribute and market the Chinese pharmaceutical company’s Covid-19 vaccine, which is now in its Phase Three trial.
Previously, former Health deputy director-general (public health) Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman had warned the Malaysian government not to compromise national and economic security in making any bilateral agreement for a coronavirus vaccine, as he said that any bilateral agreement made will always have political and economic interest in it.