Bandung, West Java (ANTARA) - State-owned pharmaceutical holding company Bio Farma is collaborating with Merck Sharp Dohme (MSD), one of the largest pharmaceutical companies from the US, to produce local Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine or cervical cancer prevention vaccine.

"We received a technical visit from MSD at the Bio Farma headquarters on Jalan Pasteur Bandung. We will soon add a new milestone with MSD, namely local production of the HPV vaccine for preventing cervical cancer," President Director of Bio Farma Honesti Basyir noted in a statement in Bandung, Monday.

Director of Strategic Alliance Asia Pacific Ravi Sangam, Director of Engineering Nancy Schaffner, Director Chief of Staff Siyan Zhang, Associate Director Device and Packaging Technology Joris den Ouden, and Associate Principal Scientist Charles Lachman were present during the technical visit from MSD received directly by President Director of Bio Farma Honesti Basyir.

Others present from MSD Indonesia were Managing Director George Stylianou, Business Unit Director Farida Malawi, External Affairs Director Dudit Triyanto, and Finance Director Pri Hartanto.

During a meeting with MSD, Basyir expressed gratitude for the partnership established since 2016.

Basyir remarked that the technical visit from MSD was a follow-up from the technology transfer cooperation agreement to locally produce a 4-valent HPV vaccine inked on December 13, 2022, as witnessed by Minister of Health of Indonesia Budi Gunadi Sadikin and Deputy Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) Pahala Nugraha Mansury.

The two-day technical visit was undertaken to review Bio Farma's readiness to produce its newest product portfolio, the HPV Vaccine.

"I thank you because this is our commitment to collaborate progressively to improve the quality of future health in Indonesia and globally," Basyir affirmed.

Basyir said he was pleased with the collaboration between MSD and Bio Farma in producing the HPV vaccine.

"At this meeting, I hope we can discuss optimally in order to be able to improve the facilities we have planned, namely the new facility to produce the HPV vaccine. Also, one thing that I want to discuss is how we together use the opportunity. The important keywords are 3A, namely Accelerate, Accelerate, and Accelerate," Basyir stated.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of MSD Indonesia George Stylianou said that he and his team from MSD were eager to collaborate with Bio Farma to showcase their commitment to the future of global health.

"It is a very big honor for us to be able to collaborate with Bio Farma," he affirmed.

Hence, Stylianou said, his side and Bio Farma sat together to go through a major transformation together to start a program to achieve extraordinary goals.

"On this occasion, I am very excited and happy to be able to join. This HPV project is the beginning of another project that can be realized between MSD and Bio Farma, so that they can show their commitment to improving the future of better health," Stylianou stated.

Bio Farma will immediately add a new milestone with MSD that is to locally produce the HPV vaccine. Greater accessibility and affordability is ensured with the local production of the HPV vaccine.

This is in line with the spirit of Bio Farma, as a BUMN that is committed to increasing national health resilience.

Local production of the HPV vaccine has the potential to increase the capability and capacity of domestic vaccine production in Indonesia.

Earlier, Bio Farma had launched a diagnostic tool called Cerviscan for early detection of HPV that is the cause of cervical cancer.

Based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2022, cervical cancer ranks second, with 36,633 cases, or 9.2 percent of the total cancer cases, after breast cancer that was placed first.

Bio Farma continues to make efforts to reduce the incidents of cervical cancer by increasing access to the HPV vaccine and encouraging efforts to increase women's awareness to conduct early detection that can help reduce mortality from cervical cancer.

Bio Farma carries out various quality control procedures and guarantees product quality through Quality Assurance in a consistent and continuous manner.

Quality control and assurance procedures are continuously monitored by the WHO-recognized National Regulatory Authority (NRA), or known in Indonesia as the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority (BPOM).

Apart from vaccines, Bio Farma also continues to innovate in improving the quality of Indonesian health by creating various diagnostic products, one of which is CerviScan.

CerviScan is a PCR-based diagnostic kit for early detection of HPV that is the cause of cervical cancer.

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Translator: Ajat Sudrajat, Cindy Frishanti Octavia
Editor: Sri Haryati
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