Panama Partners with Two Major Players in Vaccine Research and Development - Expat Community

Panama Partners with Two Major Players in Vaccine Research and Development

May 8, 2024 | News & Articles, Panama | 0 comments

By Aleida Samaniego C.

The Regional Center for Vaccine and Biopharmaceutical Innovation (CRIVB), a project initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s need for a vaccine development center, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) in Korea and Baylor College of Medicine (a health sciences university and nonprofit corporation in Texas, USA).

Under this memorandum of understanding, the three organizations aim to strengthen vaccine sciences and biopharmaceutical research and development capabilities in Panama and the Latin American region.

Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, stated, “This collaboration brings broad experience across the vaccine chain, including technology transfer. We look forward to combining the diverse range of expertise among our organizations to develop the workforce and the biopharmaceutical industry through training and plans for future vaccine manufacturing facilities in Panama.”

Eduardo Ortega Barría, National Secretary of Science, Technology, and Innovation (SENACYT), emphasized that this tripartite agreement among IVI, Baylor College of Medicine, and CRIVB-AIP brings us closer to the goal of researching, developing, and producing vaccines of public health interest in Latin America and the Caribbean. Additionally, it opens the door for Panamanian scientists to be trained in high-tech centers in Korea and the United States.

He noted that this center’s mission is to provide the country and the region with the capacity to research, develop, and manufacture vaccines and monoclonal antibodies needed to address health emergencies.

The implementation of the Regional Center for Vaccine and Biopharmaceutical Innovation project began in the third quarter of 2021, although with significant economic limitations. To start, the entity required an extraordinary credit of $2.5 million, approved in June of that year.

The scientific initiative has two phases: the first was the establishment of the vaccine research and development center, and the second is the construction of the vaccine production pilot plant.

The first phase of the regional center has a cost of $8 million, of which $1 million has been invested, and $3 million has been committed.

The project has local partners such as the City of Knowledge Foundation, the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies, and the Institute of Scientific Research and High Technology Services of Panama. Since the project was announced, Panamanian scientists have argued that a regional vaccine and biopharmaceutical center is a pressing need for the country.

Interesting Facts:
In Medellín, Colombia, a vaccine and biopharmaceutical laboratory was recently inaugurated at a cost of $54 million. The difference is that Panama will have a center for research first, followed by the construction of a plant for vaccine and biopharmaceutical production.

In Latin America, Brazil and Argentina have been working on vaccines for several years but do not have export capabilities. For instance, Brazil’s Butantan Institute, with over 120 years of tradition in vaccine and biological production.


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