Serum Institute to produce additional 10 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses for India next year; to get additional $150 mn funds

Business
Typography

SII said that the collaboration brought the total number of vaccine doses to be covered by the partnership to an aggregate of up to 200 million doses

India’s pharma major Serum Institute of India (SII) will get an additional $150 million funds from Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 10 crore doses COVID-19 vaccines for India and low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) in 2021 as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC, a mechanism within the COVAX Facility.

SII said that the collaboration brought the total number of vaccine doses to be covered by the partnership between SII, Gavi, and the Gates Foundation to an aggregate of up to 200 million doses, following the initial agreement for up to 100 million doses announced in August.

The collaboration will provide upfront capital to SII to help it increase manufacturing capacity now so that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and WHO Prequalification, doses can be distributed at scale to LMICs as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, via its Strategic Investment Fund, will provide at-risk funding of a further $150 million to Gavi, bringing the total funding provided through this collaboration to $300 million. This will be used to support the SII to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for India and low-and middle-income countries via Gavi’s COVAX AMC, said SII.

“The collaboration further bolsters up our fight against COVID-19! Through the avid support of Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we will now manufacture and deliver up to an additional 100 million doses of immunogenic and safe-proven future COVID-19 vaccines to India and low-and middle-income countries in 2021,” said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII.

At this stage, it is important for governments, global health and financial institutions in the public and private sector to come together in ensuring that no one is left behind in the road to recovery, he added

The vaccines will have a ceiling price of $3 per dose, a price enabled by investments made by partners such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and SII.

“This is vaccine manufacturing for the Global South, by the Global South, helping us to ensure no country is left behind when it comes to access to a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi , the Vaccine Alliance.

The Gavi COVAX AMC, which is currently seeking at least $2 billion in initial seed funding, will meet at least part of the cost of procurement for the vaccine doses. The Gavi Board has agreed upon the final list of 92 countries that will be supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC.

Under the new collaboration, AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine, if successful, will be available to 61 Gavi-eligible countries. Novavax’s candidate, if successful, will be available to all 92 countries supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC. These countries align with SII’s licensing agreements with the two partners.

The collaboration between Gavi, SII, and the Gates Foundation supports the efforts of the ACT Accelerator's vaccines pillar, also known as COVAX, co-led by Gavi, CEPI and the World Health Organization (WHO), to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure rapid, global access to them.

The deal is additional to a MoU between AstraZeneca and Gavi, announced in June, which will commit an additional 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s candidate vaccine to the wider COVAX Facility, to be supplied upon licensure or prequalification. These two deals can help assure access to early doses for the most vulnerable on a truly global scale, said SII.

Image credit: File photo

All Comments