CORONAVIRUS/Government to subsidize COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials: CECC

07/24/2020 12:47 PM
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Pixabay image for illustrative purpose only
Pixabay image for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) The government is offering subsidies of up to NT$500 million (US$17 million) to Taiwanese companies undertaking clinical trials for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC)said Thursday.

Companies that receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)to start the first phase of clinical trials before Aug. 31 are entitled to NT$200 million, while those that obtain approval before Sept. 30 will be entitled to receive NT$160 million, the CECC said.

An initial 30 percent of the funds will be allocated after the first participant is found for the trial, while another 40 percent will be disbursed when the study has enlisted over 50 percent of its participants, the CECC said.

The final 30 percent will be granted after the last participant has been enlisted, the CECC added.

Companies that enroll their first study participant for the second phase of clinical trials before Dec. 31 can receive a further amount of up to NT$300 million, while up to NT$240 million is available for companies who find their first study participant by Jan. 31, the CECC said.

An initial 30 percent will be granted when the first test participant joins the second phase, while another 20 percent will be allocated when at least 50 percent have been enlisted, the CECC said.

Another 20 percent will be disbursed when the last participant has entered the trial, with the final 30 percent only given when "Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)" is met after inspections by the FDA, the CECC said.

In order to qualify for the subsidies, companies need to enroll at least 40-60 test participants for the first phase of clinical trials and over 3,000 for the second phase, the CECC said.

Currently four Taiwanese companies are about to enter clinical trials and maximum total subsidies are calculated at NT$2 billion, with each firm potentially receiving NT$500 million, said CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥).

Companies that receive subsidies and later successfully develop a vaccine should guarantee priority will be given to it being sold on the domestic market with preferential pricing or reduced costs for government procurement, Chuang said.

The production and manufacture of raw materials or preparations for the vaccine must be commissioned by certified Taiwanese companies to enhance the domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, Chuang said.

The subsidy plan will run until June 30, 2021, with the aim of issuing vaccine licenses next year, Chuang added.

Taiwan has been praised by the international community for its swift and successful disease prevention efforts, recording only 455 COVID-19 cases, with most imported, since the outbreak began late last year.

Taiwan has not recorded any locally transmitted cases since April 12, according to CECC data.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and William Yen)

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