February 25, 2021

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Local pharmaceutical company to manufacture compound for COVID-19 molecular test

A Puerto Rican pharmaceutical company already has authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to produce one of the compounds from the molecular tests of COVID-19, a new step for the island to regain lost ground in that sector internationally.

The president of the Puerto Rico Industrial Association (AIPR), Carlos Rodríguez, told Efe that the authorization obtained by the company GK Pharmaceuticals CMO, located in the municipality of Manatí, shows that the island is heading to regain the role it played years ago as the nerve center of pharmaceutical manufacturing at a global level.

GK Pharmaceuticals CMO, owned by the engineers Mayra Liz Guzmán-Kaslow and Martiza Gerena, had finalized last June the development of a package of molecular tests that were presented to the FDA, which finally gave the go-ahead.

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, who congratulated herself on the achievement of the local company, highlighted earlier this month the objective of the Donald Trump Administration to strengthen the island as a manufacturing hub.

González then highlighted the 10 million contract awarded by the federal Department of Defense to a manufacturer established in Puerto Rico.

After qualifying it as “the correct route to promote the island’s economic development,” he reiterated that this contract “is yet another sign that our initiative to bring the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industry to the island is on track.”

Immediate capacity of Puerto Rico companies

The president of the employer’s association maintained that the fact that the FDA has granted this permission to the Puerto Rican company is not a coincidence and that it confirms the immediate capacity of the island’s pharmaceutical companies to respond to the demands of the federal authorities in this matter. sanitary.

“With this authorization, the trend of continuing to attract manufacturing to US soil, and specifically to Puerto Rico, is continued,” said the president of the Commonwealth Employers’ Association.

He recalled that the authorization comes after a recent visit by Admiral Peter Brown, the White House’s main link for the process of rebuilding Puerto Rico, to the Caribbean island.

“It is, without a doubt, a new step to return to Puerto Rico its role as a pharmaceutical supplier to America,” said Rodríguez.

Regarding why the island gets these assignments, he stressed that although other countries could manufacture these products, it would be difficult for them to do so with the immediacy that the Caribbean island does, which has been achieved thanks to years of complying with the health requirements of the United States federal authorities.

GK Pharmaceuticals CMO manufactures a product called GK ACCU-RIGHT SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Kit, which was developed by the research department of this company.

The project is led by Dr. Ernesto González in collaboration with Dr. Ivelisse Martin from the Martin Clinical Laboratory.

The Manatí plant could manufacture about 350,000 “kits” per year.

It began operations in 2019 with an investment of 20 million

The company, which began operations in 2019 with an investment close to 20 million dollars, also develops and produces therapeutic proteins and other pharmaceutical producers.

This new step taken in the sector confirms the objective of the Washington Executive of giving a new role to Puerto Rico as a manufacturing hub for the United States market, in parallel with the loss of China as a supplier of the sector for the United States market. .

Trump, in electoral terms, accused Joe Biden last week of having voted as senator, in 1996, to eliminate a provision that would make the island an “important player” in the world pharmaceutical industry.

He announced that, if he wins the elections again, he will seek to bring the production of pharmaceutical products “back” to the island, which, he said, has been leaving “for a long period of time” to China.

“This was done in previous administrations, I would like to point out that we have done more for Puerto Rico than anyone else and this is just one example of that,” Trump added.

The Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez, announced today that Optum, a leading healthcare company and part of UnitedHealth Group, will create more than 100 new jobs at its San Juan hub by the end of the year and plans to create an additional 400 new jobs over the next three years.

“Optum’s innovative operations go hand in hand with the capabilities of our professionals, allowing us to reinvent, compete and position the island as an important center for global professional services,” said the first executive.

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