Kelvin Wu's Hong Kong-based AID Partners Capital and AID Genomics CEO Snir Zano have announced the setting up of a plant to develop and manufacture RNA vaccines and other RNA products. The Group says it will invest $200 million in the factory, which will be located in Teva's former inhaler factory. AID has already set up a laboratory for Covid-19 testing in the Jerusalem facility, after winning the Israel concession for testing from Chinese company BGI.
AID said that NIS 30 million has been invested in the coronavirus testing laboratory, which employs 120 people.
Not competing with the existing vaccination
Zano said, "We don't plan competing with the existing vaccine. But wee that there are mutations of the virus and probably in the future there will be a need for other vaccines and we see the potential of RNA technology to treat other illnesses. We have leased the site that belonged to Teva in Jerusalem and there is also an option to buy it. We have acquired and plan adding acquisitions to capabilities in the RNA sector, and to set up an R&D center and manufacturing plant. In this way Israel's reaction to new viruses will be faster."
Zano says that AID does not plan being a pharmaceutical company but rather a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), manufacturing products for other companies specializing in certain fields. The company hopes to have its first revenue within a year and subsequently to use the research center and manufacturing plant for other companies that AID will set up or acquire.
"We are in talks with several companies worldwide about manufacturing for them in Israel. I still can't reveal the names of these companies. At the moment the focus is on choosing the first project for the plant and we still don't know if it will be an external or independent project."
The dream for the future, Zano says, is to manufacture RNA-based technologies for treating cancer. That's not only the dream of AID but also Moderna and BioNTech, which developed the Covid vaccine with Pfizer. "From this point of view, our activities in the field of cancer diagnosis and build a databank in the genetics of cancer, will feed the sector for developing RNA vaccines against cancer."
Teva sold its inhalers factory last year to income producing property company Vitania (TASE: VTNA) for NIS 107 million on condition that millions of dollars of equipment would be kept for new tenants. This allowed AID to quickly set up its Covid-19 testing laboratory, which today process 10,000 tests per day but has the capacity for 50,000.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 28, 2021
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