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21 Apr 2021

Bharat Biotech scales up Covaxin manufacturing capacity in India

The company will expand multiple facilities in Hyderabad and Bangalore to help reach its target of approximately 700 million doses per year of the COVID-19 vaccine

Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech has announced plans to expand its manufacturing capacity across multiple facilities at Hyderabad and Bangalore to produce approximately 700 million doses of its inactivated COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, annually.

The company says the availability of new specially designed biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) facilities will enable it to expand manufacturing capacity for the COVID-19 vaccine in a short timeline.

Compared with live virus vaccine production, manufacturing inactivated vaccines is more complex and expensive and results in lower yields.

According to Bloomberg, Bharat Biotech's scaling up announcement comes on the back of India’s government giving the firm a 650 million rupee ($8.7 million) grant last week. The timing of this cash boost comes as the country experiences a huge surge in COVID-19 cases.

The vaccine producer says raw materials, packing materials and single-use consumables for manufacturing have been secured to meet its capacity requirements.

To further increase capacities, Bharat Biotech has partnered with Indian Immunologicals to manufacture, at commercial scale, the drug substance for Covaxin, with the technology transfer process well underway.

In addition, the company is exploring manufacturing partnerships with partners in other countries, who have prior expertise with commercial-scale manufacture of inactivated viral vaccines under biosafety containment.

Bharat Biotech uses a proprietary adjuvant Algel-IMDG to stimulate memory T cell responses. The company said the synthesis and manufacture of the IMDG component has been successfully indigenised and will be manufactured at commercial scale within India, making this the first instance where a novel adjuvant has been commercialised in the country.

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