Hester teams up with Bharat Biotech to produce Covaxin via tech transfer
This will help in enhancing the production COVID-19vaccines in India amid ongoing shortage
Amid growing concerns over the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in India, Hester Biosciences on Sunday announced a collaboration with the Gujarat government to explore the capacities of producing vaccines in the state with technological assistance from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. Issuing a statement, the Gujarat-based animal healthcare company asserted that it is in discussions with Bharat Biotech for the transfer of technology for ramping up the production of COVID-19 vaccines.
“A triparty consortium has been formed with the Government of Gujarat as the lead partner, to explore the prospects of manufacturing the Covid vaccine through technology from Bharat Biotech,” Rajiv Gandhi, CEO and MDof Hester Biosciences, said in the statement.
He added that the two firms are currently reviewing Hester’s production infrastructure, technology adaption process, and regulatory compliances to initiate the transfer of technology. Bharat Biotech and Hester Biosciences willdecide the next course of action after analysing the conclusion of the review.
Last week, the Department of Biotechnology issued a statement, confirming the partnership between Hester Biosciences, the Gujarat government as well as OmniBRx Biotechnologies to scale up the production of COVID-19 vaccines in the country. As per the statement, the Department of Science and Technology (Gujarat Government), Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre, Hester Biosciences, and OmniBRx are in discussions with Bharat Biotech to boost COVAXIN vaccine technology with the aim of producing a minimum of 20million doses per month.
“Technology transfer agreements have been finalized with all manufacturers,” the Department of Biotechnology said in the statement.
After the announcement, shares of Hester Biosciences rallied up more than 17 percent in intra-day trade on Monday. Earlier, Bharat Biotech signed agreements with three PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings to enhance Covaxin vaccine production in the country. The pharma giant has signed deals with Mumbai-based Haffkine Biopharmaceuticals, Hyderabad-based Indian Immunologicals Ltd, and UP-based DBT facility Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Limited (BIBCOL) to add over 700 million Covaxin vaccine doses by the end of this year.
Currently, India is administering only three approved COVID-19 vaccines as part of the national vaccination campaign – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Serum Institute’s Covishield, and recently imported Russia’s Sputnik V through Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.
On Sunday, Dr. VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog, underlined that the Centre is working on strengthening the production of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months. A statement issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology noted that thecapacities of Bharat Biotech and other public sector manufacturers are beingincreased with advanced technology and infrastructure.
“Financial support is being provided as a grant from the government to the tune of approx. ₹65 crores to Bharat Biotech’s new Bangalore facility which is being repurposed to increase the capacity of vaccine production,” the statement added.