Bharat Biotech ramps up Covaxin production capacity to 700 mn doses per annum

The capacity was earlier pegged at 200 million doses a year.

Updated - April 21, 2021 02:05 am IST

Published - April 20, 2021 04:06 pm IST - Hyderabad

Boxes of Covaxin vaccine, manufactured by Bharat Biotech. File

Boxes of Covaxin vaccine, manufactured by Bharat Biotech. File

Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech on Tuesday said it had scaled up manufacturing capacity to produce 700 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine a year.

“Manufacturing scale-up has been carried out in a stepwise manner across multiple facilities in Hyderabad and Bengaluru to produce 700 million doses...,” said the company, which had previously pegged the capacity at 200 million doses a year.

A release from the company said, “Capacity expansion in vaccines manufacturing is a long and tedious process, requiring investments of several million rupees and several years. Bharat Biotech is able to expand Covaxin manufacturing capacity in a short timeline, mainly due to the availability of new specially designed BSL-3 facilities.”

Technology transfer

Further, Bharat Biotech said it had partnered with Indian Immunologicals to manufacture the drug substance for Covaxin. The technology transfer process is under way and the IIL has the capabilities and expertise to manufacture inactivated viral vaccines at commercial scale and under biosafety containment. Manufacturing partnerships are also being explored with partners in other countries, the release said.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech CMD Krishna Ella at an event said that the company will produce 30 million doses of Covaxin next month against around 20 million doses this month and 15 million in the last month. “Last month we produced 15 million doses, this month we are reaching 20 million doses, next month we will be making around 30 million doses followed by 70 to 75 million doses,” Mr. Ella said.

He said that the company expects to reach a production capacity of up to 800 million doses per annum by July-August. “We are ramping up the production and by July-August we will be able to reach 700 to 800 million doses production capacity per annum,” Mr. Ella said.

The release from the company said it used a proprietary adjuvant Algel-IMDG. The synthesis and manufacture of the IMDG component has been successfully indigenised and will be manufactured at commercial scale within the country. This is the first instance where a novel adjuvant has been commercialised in India, it added.

Stating that emergency use authorisations for Covaxin has been received in many countries and the process of getting them is on in the U.S and several European countries, the company said pricing for international markets and supplies to governments under the EUA had been established between $15-20 a dose.

The announcement by the company came a day after the Centre announced financial support to the two COVID-19 vaccine makers — Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India, amid complaints of vaccine shortage, surge in the number of people testing positive for the virus as well as the number of COVID-19-related deaths.

(With inputs from PTI)

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