Merck & Co. inks pact with Indonesia's Bio Farma to make HPV vaccine

Merck & Co. and Indonesia’s Bio Farma entered a licensing agreement for the state-owned drug manufacturer to produce the MSD four-valent HPV vaccine locally.

The pact is part of the country’s efforts to launch a national HPV immunization program in 2023, according to a translated Dec. 13 press release. Financial and logistic details of the licensing agreement weren’t disclosed. MSD and Bio Farma have had a partnership since 2016.

Cervical cancer is the second most frequent cancer among women in Indonesia and the second most chronic cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age, according to Indonesia’s HPV Information Centre (PDF). The World Health Organization ranks cervical cancer as the fourth most common cancer in women globally.

"MSD will continue to expand our production and availability of our HPV vaccine to meet these levels of unprecedented demand that we're seeing globally,” David Peacock, MSD’s president for the Asia-Pacific region, said in the release. “We continue strive to achieve our goal of reducing the incidence of cervical cancer worldwide through increased access to HPV vaccination and implementation of new immunization programs and expanded (programs). “

In April, Merck & Co. (which is known as MSD outside of the U.S. and Canada) announced it had completed the expansion of its HPV vaccine capacity at its facility in Elkton, Virginia. After experiencing shortfalls of the vaccine in 2018 and 2019, the company pledged $1 billion to boost production by expanding current plants or building new ones to meet demand.