Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-owned pharmaceutical firm PT Bio Farma established a technology transfer cooperation with an American pharmaceutical company, Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), to produce the 4-valent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in Indonesia.

President Director of Bio Farma Honesti Basyir and Managing Director of MSD Indonesia George Stylianou signed the cooperation agreement between the two companies here on Tuesday, as witnessed by Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Deputy Minister I of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Pahala Nugraha Mansury, President of MSD Asia-Pacific David Peacock, and representatives of the US Embassy in Indonesia.

"This is part of Bio Farma's strategy to strengthen Indonesia's capability through collaboration," Basyir remarked.

He noted that the cooperation for technology transfer with MSD to produce HPV vaccines in Indonesia would be able to improve the domestic vaccine production ability to tackle cervical cancer.

Currently, the HPV vaccine has been used in the HPV immunization introduction program in various regions in Indonesia, and the coverage of the HPV immunization program will continue to be expanded until it reaches a national scale in 2023.

Health Minister Sadikin stated that the cooperation between Bio Farma and MSD is a concrete form of cooperation between parties to support Indonesia's health transformation, especially in the efforts to strengthen the promotive and preventive primary service pillars that are prioritized by the government.

"I believe that the potential for the transfer of technology, expertise, knowledge, and experience from MSD, as a leading global producer of HPV vaccines, will offer benefits for Bio Farma and for the independence of Indonesia's health sector, especially in developing vaccines," Sadikin stated.

This year, the Ministry of Health has included HPV vaccination in the primary immunization program during the School Children Immunization Month (BIAS), targeting fifth- and sixth-grader girls.

Based on the 2018 Basic Health Research data, cervical cancer is the second-biggest cause of death in women, with an average death rate of 13.9 per 100 thousand population.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Sri Haryati
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