Pune company plans to ready 20-40 million Covid-19 vaccine shots for launch by September-October | Pune News

The Times of India

(This story originally appeared in on Apr 27, 2020)MUMBAI: Pune-based Serum Institute, credited with affordable and innovative therapies like pneumonia and dengue monoclonal vaccines, plans to price the proposed Covid-19 vaccine at around Rs 1,000 per dose in India. Serum is one of the global manufacturers that is putting its weight behind an Oxford University-led consortium, which announced the start of human clinical trials on April 23 and is one of the first such projects to get underway globally.
“We hope to start trials in India from May, with a few hundred patients, and expect to roll out the vaccine by September–October, if the trials are successful. We are planning to make the vaccine available at an affordable price of around Rs 1,000 in India, which will take into account costs (for us)”, Serum Institute CEO and promoter Adar Poonawalla told TOI.
The pricing in India, he said, is expected to be substantially lower than the global one as in the case of other vaccines like MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) which are available at over 10 times the India price in countries like UK.
“We are not waiting for the trials to get over in September in UK, and then start production here. The decision—at our own risk and cost— has been solely taken to get a jump-start on manufacturing, to have enough doses available, if the clinical trials prove successful. We aim to manufacture four to five million doses per month for the first six months, following which, we might scale up to 10 million doses per month, based on the success of trials. We are looking to build it up to 20-40 million doses by September-October. If successful, we will make the product available in as many countries as possible including India,” he said.
The vaccine will be made at Serum’s existing facility in Pune. For this, it will be stopping the production of other vaccines, as its new plant, with an investment of about Rs 3,000 crore, will take a couple of years to come up. “We would have spent around $150 million, directly and indirectly, in this project. We hope the government will partner (with us) by stock-piling the vaccine. It will help us recover the cost,” Poonawalla said.
Elaborating, he said that besides the capex of around $60 million on the new plant, there is also the lost opportunity cost of around $60 million per annum (on account of stopping production of other vaccines), cost of clinical trials, and production of the Covid-19 vaccine.

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