- The Chinese laboratory, with support from InvestChile, will also launch an R&D center in conjunction with three local universities. The company has chosen Chile as its base for supplying the entire region.
On Wednesday, the Chinese laboratory, Sinovac, announced that it had decided to set up its new South American plant in Chile. This plant will have the capacity to produce over 60 million doses of vaccine. The company indicated that the initial stage would involve setting up a fill & finish facility for its Coronavac product, which should begin operating in the second quarter of 2022.
The announcement came following weeks of meetings with government officials and site visits in two regions of Chile that were organized by InvestChile and the Universidad Católica. Sinovac will also launch an R&D center in Antofagasta, in collaboration with Universidad Católica, Universidad de Chile and Universidad de Antofagasta.
Sinovac has long-term plans to make Chile a hub for the regional distribution of its products, which will later include vaccines for other diseases, such as influenza and hepatitis. The laboratory is open to the possibility of expanding its reach in other regions of Chile, and this will require warehouse infrastructure and distribution logistics, which will open up new opportunities for business, collaboration and development.
The Vice President of Sinovac, Weining Meng, thanked the different ministries in Chile for their collaborative efforts and noted that they want to begin vaccine production “as soon as possible.” In the days prior to communicating their decision, laboratory executives joined Dr. Alexis Kalergis, Director of MIII and the InvestChile team to meet with the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, Economy Minister Lucas Palacios, Science and Technology Minister Andrés Couve, National Assets Minister Julio Isamit and Health Minister Enrique Paris, who were also present during the company’s announcement.
InvestChile Managing Director Andrés Rodríguez stressed the importance of the decision because it shows that Chile continues to be a leading destination for foreign investment and is also “proof that collaboration between the public and private sectors and academia is necessary to attract impact investment to Chile, which is not only good business but also benefits Chile and its future development.”
“This is the first step in a strategy that we are developing in conjunction with the Science and Technology Ministry to ensure that Chile is not just an important destination for foreign investment, but also a hub for scientific investment in the region,” said Rodríguez. The agency is currently in talks with foreign technology companies and laboratories with a view to them considering Chile when they set up their projects in Latin America.