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Vaccines give venture’s bottom line a big boost

02:08 AM February 22, 2015

Giovanni Alingog, 41, is not your ordinary entrepreneur.

In 2003, he convinced his pediatrician wife Geraldine Quijano Alingog to sell their wedding gifts and, with the P80,000 proceeds, he started distributing vaccines.

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“After a decade of success, we realized that there was a need for research and production of vaccines locally. That was when I started to connect with all stakeholders critical to its success,” Alingog says.

The vision: The first research and formulation plant for locally manufactured vaccines and to make the products available to the poor.

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This is now being reviewed by the Department of Science and Technology.

“It was not difficult convincing my wife to sell our wedding gifts and start with the vaccine distribution because it was actually her problem—sourcing out affordable vaccines for the less privileged,” Alingog explains.

From dirty kitchen to chic establishment

An accountancy graduate of the San Beda College and a certified public accountant (CPA), Alingog first went into the logistics business of freight forwarding and brokerage before he realized that there was something bigger that he and his wife could do to serve the country and the people better.

Alingog’s journey is a rags-to-riches story.

While in college, he and his family lived in a cramped dirty kitchen in the house of his father’s friend. That was their makeshift home, Alingog recalls.

He sent himself to school by working at McDonald’s. He was a consistent Dean’s lister.

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Now, Alingog’s Glovax Biotech has its own modern building that houses 60 employees.

Pride in self-sufficiency

Glovax Biotech Corp. is the only participant in the Philippine government’s vaccine self-sufficiency program under the public-private partnership (PPP) program.

To produce the needed vaccines, Glovax will put up a P2-billion vaccine and biotech R&D plant at no cost to the government.

Alingog’s Glovax Biotech Corp. is the only proponent of a government PPP project that will enable the country to become self-reliant in countering deadly diseases, including SARS, AH1N1, Swine Flu, and even Ebola.

By transferring technology to research, Glovax may develop new vaccines and, with its plant, the company may formulate and produce vaccines locally at a steady rate and lowest possible cost.

From the time it started out 12 years ago with a seed capital of P80,000, Glovax has become a lean but highly skilled enterprise. It now enjoys the support of Impact Investment Asia (IIX) and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), a leading global private equity firm with over $400 billion in equity transactions, allowing Glovax to raise funds for its PPP project.

Glovax Biotech’s proposed Vaccine Development and Security Program (VDSP) is a long-term project to support the government in its annual vaccine undertaking by making sure that the medicines are available anytime and at predetermined prices.

“Because the technology to produce the vaccines is now available locally, Glovax has improved on its ability to provide universal health care. We do not need to be dependent on outside suppliers for vaccines like what happened during the Swine Flu Pandemic,” Alingog says.

Social entrepreneurship

As a social entrepreneur, Alingog, through Glovax, has steadily rolled out projects to help improve the lives of the poor.

Glovax, with the assistance of Rotary International, Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Picpa), local government units and nongovernment organizations, has vaccinated to date 133,000 underprivileged individuals for free.

The vaccines provided by Glovax—such as the ones for meningococcemia, pneumonia and influenza—are not given by the government because these are costly.

Glovax’s vaccination program has benefited residents of Patikul, Sulu; poverty stricken areas in Quezon Province and Daet, and impoverished communities in Metro Manila.

For these humanitarian efforts, Alingog was recognized by Picpa as Entrepreneur of the Year last December in Cebu. Prior to this, he was also Picpa’s special awardee for community service in 2011.

A study done by KKR and IIX revealed that, for every peso Glovax puts into its impact-generating activities, the company generates P2 in social returns. This has convinced the organizations that Glovax is worthy of their support.

Since 2003, Glovax has distributed more than 4 million doses of various vaccines.

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TAGS: entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Giovanni Alingog, Glovax Biotech, vaccines
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