Panacea Biotec Managing Director Rajesh Jain has said the aim is to manufacture over 500 million doses of COVID-19 candidate vaccine, with over 40 million doses expected to be available for delivery early next year.
Biopharmaceutical company Panacea Biotec on June 10 announced its collaboration with Ireland-based biotech Refana to develop, manufacture and distribute an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine.
Under the collaboration, Panacea Biotec will be responsible for product development and commercial manufacturing, with the joint venture undertaking clinical development and regulatory submissions across the world.
Both Panacea and Refana will undertake sales and distribution of the vaccine in their respective territories.
Rajesh Jain, Managing Director of Panacea Biotec, said the aim is to manufacture over 500 million doses of COVD-19 candidate vaccine, with over 40 million doses expected to be available for delivery early next year.
"The world needs a vaccine that is safe, effective, and scalable in a cGMP compliant manufacturing facility that has sizeable capacity and capability to cater to global demand," Jain said.
"Whole inactivated viral vaccines have a higher probability of being safe and efficacious, given their long history and better understanding of their mechanism of action, which has been elucidated over many decades," Jain added.
"Our partnership with Panacea Biotec brings this dream to a practical realisation with the ability to manufacture 500 million COVID-19 vaccines over 12 months," said Dr Phillip Schwartz, Chief Scientific and Medical advisor to Refana Inc., and the founder and president of NASDAQ-listed EnteraBio.
"Utilising proven models of viral pathogenesis and parallel conduct of multiple pre-clinical and clinical studies, Refana believes it can significantly accelerate the vaccine development and approval process for its tried and true whole inactivated viral vaccine approach. We are very excited to combine this approach with Panacea Biotec's world-class technology, development and production capabilities," Schwartz said.
Panacea is one of the leading Indian vaccine makers. The company sells WHO-prequalified vaccines. It is also undertaking development of a novel Tetravalent Dengue Vaccine, Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine among other differentiated drug development programmes.
In April 2019, India Resurgence Fund (IndiaRF), a leading India-focused investment platform, promoted by Piramal Enterprises and Bain Capital, invested Rs 992 crore in the company.
Indian companies with large vaccine manufacturing capacities are sought after by biotechs and research institutions in the West, that are developing vaccine.
Billions of doses of vaccine are needed to protect people from COVID-19 and build herd immunity against the pandemic. So far the world has reported 7.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4,11,276 deaths according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. India has reported 2,76,146 cases, the fifth-highest in world, with 7750 deaths.
This article appeared in Money Control
Viswanath Pilla @viswanath_pilla