Pharma firm Wockhardt has approached the Indian government for help in tying up with COVID-19 vaccine makers, sources have told CNBC-TV18.
The company has informed the government that it has three facilities which can be repurposed to manufacture vaccines, the sources said, adding that specifically, the Mumbai-based pharma player is seeking collaborations with vaccines using BSL1 and BSL2 technology, they said.
Wockhardt has said that it has the capacity to produce up to 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines a year and can have an initial output of 500 million doses ready by February 2022, the Indian Express reported.
A formal submission was made in early May and the Centre was “examining the offer”, the IE report added. A source told that the idea was to produce two billion doses of two-three vaccines to create “sustainable” supply.
The company said it was “in the process of accessing” technology required to make the COVID-19 vaccines and told the government it had manufacturing and research capabilities to produce a “diversified portfolio”.
This means the company can produce vaccines based on mRNA (Pfizer, Moderna), protein (Johnson & Johnson) and viral vector (Covishield) vaccines. Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is not on the cards as it requires biosafety level 3 (BSL 3) facility and has a longer output time.
The source added that the plan was to “quickly” make 500 million doses of any COVID-19 vaccine, which would take six-nine months to set up. “Talks are on with several firms, and an agreement with an international company is likely “in the next few weeks”, they added.
This offer comes at a time when India is facing a shortage of vaccines. The government has cleared Covishield, Covaxin and Russia-made Sputnik V for emergency use. Sputnik V makers have tie-ups with several Indian companies to make the vaccine locally.
Wockhardt already has an exclusive deal with the UK government to “fill and finish” COVID-19 vaccines at its North Wales plant.
Source: Money Control | May 26, 2021