BogotáBio selects Sinovac as a partner to start vaccine development

BogotáBio selects Sinovac as a partner to start vaccine developmentPhoto: Bogota Mayor’s Office.
The announcement of the selection of Sinovac was made by Mayor Claudia López during the opening of Smart City Expo 2023.

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Bogotá has achieved a new milestone in its commitment to safeguarding its citizens by announcing Sinovac as a strategic partner for BogotáBio, the vaccine laboratory being developed in the district to meet future needs. Mayor Claudia López stated that this partnership was chosen after a selection process involving 15 companies.

During the launch of the Smart City Expo Bogotá at Corferias, Mayor López announced that BogotáBio's objective will be to develop vaccines against COVID-19, Varicella, and Hepatitis A, initially. Sinovac will contribute its expertise in vaccine manufacturing, as well as in the construction and operation of biological production plants, along with resources for the project.

"Thanks to the taxes paid by Bogotá residents, the city will once again have a vaccine factory. BogotáBio is now a reality. With 357 billion pesos from taxes, we launched an international call not just for packaging, filling, and distributing pharmaceuticals, but for pharmaceutical production itself and becoming partners in the research, development, technology, knowledge, and patents related to pharmaceutical production," highlighted the local leader enthusiastically. "This will be the greatest innovation that this administration will leave for the city."

In this tweet, the Mayor refers to Sinovac as a partner of Bogotá in its vaccine factory:

With this intelligent advancement integrated into technology, Bogotá will be better prepared and less vulnerable in the face of potential new public health emergencies such as epidemics or pandemics. This represents another way to guarantee the right to health and life for citizens and an additional tool to care for the people.

Interesting facts about vaccine manufacturing in Bogotá:

  • BogotáBio will be a mixed economy partnership between Bogotá, represented by the Health Secretariat and Atenea, and Sinovac.
  • It is an innovative model of collaboration between the public and private sectors within the pharmaceutical industry, as joint ventures are usually more common.
  • In the pharmaceutical sector, it is exceptional for a private company to accept being a partner of the public sector under the terms proposed by the city.
  • The city's investment amounts to 357 billion pesos between 2021 and 2026.
    • 334 billion pesos are allocated for future infrastructure and equipment.
    • 22.8 billion pesos in 2021.

It is expected that vaccine production will begin in five years. At that time, BogotáBio will have the capacity to produce 3,165,081 annual doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 1,177,957 annual doses of varicella vaccines, and 597,996 annual doses of hepatitis A vaccines.

Stages carried out in the agreement process:

The first stage, market exploration, and approach: Bogotá, together with the project's structure (Temporary Union between Durán and Osorio Abogados and Profit Investment Bank), met with 15 companies to share the general guidelines of the project and expectations for the strategic partner.

The 15 companies contacted for this purpose were:

Biocubafarm (Cuba), Merck Sharp & Dohme (USA), Sinopharm (China), Sinovac (China), Vaxthera (Colombia), Walvax (China) in association with Lifefactors (Colombia), Serum Institute (India), Janssen (USA), Russian Direct Investment Fund (Russia), Astrazeneca (England), Reithera (Italy), Vitalis (Colombia), Limor (Colombia), Sanofi (France), Praxis Pharmaceuticals (Spain).

Second stage, expression of interest: In order to continue in the process, those companies had to formally express their interest by sending a letter signed by their legal representative. Out of the 15 companies, six (6) companies did so: Biocubafarma, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Vaxthera, and Walvax + Life Factors (joined together).

Third stage, presentation and evaluation of non-binding offers: The companies had to submit non-binding proposals considering the terms of reference and other legal documents prepared by the city.  These offers were evaluated and scored by an independent committee of expert evaluators based on the terms of reference and the process regulations, which clearly describe the evaluation criteria and maximum score for each criterion. Out of the 6 companies that expressed interest, 2 submitted offers: Sinovac and Walvax + Life Factors.

Fourth stage, competitive dialogue and negotiation: The District's team, with support from the structurer, had organized discussions with the proposers regarding each element of their offers.

Fifth stage, presentation and evaluation of binding offers: The companies had to submit a definitive and binding offer. Out of the two competing companies, only SINOVAC submitted a binding offer. This offer was evaluated and scored by the evaluation committee using the same criteria as the third-stage evaluation. The evaluation committee recommended ATENEA select SINOVAC, and ATENEA accepted the recommendation.

The Mayor inaugurated Smart City Expo Bogotá

Through collaborative efforts between the Mayor's Office of Bogotá, FIRA Barcelona International, Corferias, and the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá as a strategic ally, the first edition of Smart City Expo Bogotá was launched. This event is a leading platform for the conception and study of smart cities and serves as an international edition of the annual Smart City Expo World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain.

More than 140 national and international speakers are part of the congress-themed "Cities that Care, Cities that Innovate," taking place from May 31st to June 2nd. The congress covers seven main topics: public innovation, emerging technologies, energy, and the environment, secure cities, urban mobility, sustainable territories, and economic development.

"To innovate, we must invest, and boldness is required for investment. That's why social and educational institutions, both public and private, are so important because individuals are transitory. Today, Bogotá is a city under construction. That's why I invite you to reserve your tickets to return to the city in 10 years and witness the transformation in mobility, education, and business development," expressed Mayor López during the inauguration.

The fair also includes an exhibition showcasing 70 companies, entities, partners, and collaborating institutions that present solutions and developments to create more inclusive, secure, resilient, and sustainable cities.

Regarding the event, Andrés López Valderrama, Executive President of Corferias, stated, "Undoubtedly, Smart City Expo Bogotá will continue to strengthen innovation in our city and our country. As a platform for connections and promotion, it will complement the District/Campus of Science, Technology, and Innovation of Bogotá, which we are leading to contribute to the development of the region and the country by fostering connections and creative friction."

Ricard Zapatero, CEO of Fira Barcelona International, expressed that Bogotá was chosen as the host for the leading international exhibition on smart cities. He mentioned, "Smart City Expo is a global event that helps cities implement projects with new technologies to improve the lives of their citizens. Thanks to the collaboration between Corferias, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Mayor's Office of Bogotá, we are delighted that Bogotá is hosting the event."

During the first day, which took place on May 31st, there were 12 academic events, including:

  • Cities That Care: A systemic approach to public innovation
  • Employment and Talent in the digital economy
  • Towards inclusive and equitable mobility
  • Transition to new models of local energy consumption

For those interested in learning more about Smart City Expo Bogotá, they can access the following link:

In this video, you can watch the inauguration of Smart City Expo and the Mayor's announcement regarding vaccine development in the capital city: