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Simpor Pharma eyes bigger market overseas

BRUNEI’S first pharmaceutical manufacturing company is growing out of obscurity in the market for pharmaceuticals and is looking to expand its sales channels to boost its production, the company’s top official said yesterday.


In an interview with local media, Edward Ko, managing director of Simpor Pharma Sdn Bhd, said the company is working on increasing the company’s exposure by joining trade shows and using its current sales network to close the gap between the facility’s production capability and customer orders.


 “The facility itself can handle high production but at the moment our production rate is very low. We’re not even at the five per cent mark so we still have (a lot) of room to grow,” he said at the company’s facility at the Kg Salambigar Industrial Site.


He said the facility was built for high production and has machines that can produce one million tablets per day.


“So we need (a lot) of orders to fully utilise the (facility). But before that (can happen), we need to find more customers and let the market know that Brunei has this to offer,” he said.


Ko said the major challenge is mostly reputational as Brunei is not known for its pharmaceutical industry.


He said it was initially hard to break into other markets even in Southeast Asia as they were unknown.


“This is changing now. We have a lot of people (who) know about us. We’ve had people fly from different Asian countries just to visit the plant and to look at our operations so that is an encouraging factor for us,” he said.


He said the company’s products were recently certified by the US Food and Drug Administration.


He said such certification has helped exposed the company to the global market.


Simpor Pharma started operations in 2013 with the completion of its 100,000- square-foot manufacturing facility in September that year.


This company is a $35 million joint-venture between a Canadian firm, Viva Pharmaceutical Inc, the Ministry of Finance and a group of local investors.


The company has over 100 different products ranging from health supplements, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.