Moneycontrol PRO
Live Now |Traders Carnival 15th Edition - 3 days 12 sessions Virtual Event brought to you by Moneycontrol Pro

Hester Biosciences says on track to produce Covaxin drug substance by Q4FY22

The construction of a BSL-3 facility suitable for manufacturing the drug substance of Covaxin is underway. The vaccine maker intends to produce 5 million to 15 million doses of Covaxin drug substance.

August 24, 2021 / 07:18 PM IST
 
 
live
  • bselive
  • nselive
Volume
Todays L/H
More

Hester Biosciences, the maker of poultry and animal vaccines, which has signed up with Bharat Biotech to manufacture the drug substance of Covaxin, said the company is confident about commencing supplies from the fourth quarter of FY22.

The company said the construction of BSL-3 facility suitable for manufacturing the drug substance of Covaxin is underway. The company intends to produce 5 million to 15 million doses of Covaxin drug substance.

"We are on track and at this point of time, there is no delay in timelines," said Rajiv Gandhi, CEO & Managing Director of Hester Biosciences at the company's recent call with analysts.

Hester is investing Rs 40 crore towards setting up a plant for producing Covaxin drug substance.

Gandhi earlier said he had entered into an agreement with Bharat Biotech with the objective of helping the country to ramp up COVID vaccine production.

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

"We are renovating part of the manufacturing site to make the vaccine, so there is no drop in our normal production of poultry and animal vaccines, which is our core business," Gandhi added.

On May 27, an MoU was signed between Bharat Biotech and Gujarat Covid Vaccine Consortium (GCVC) of which Hester is a part.

Hester shall provide the complete infrastructure at its Gujarat plant for manufacturing the drug substance for Covaxin. Bharat Biotech will do the formulation and fill-finish the vaccine at its plants.

The deal was signed at a time when Bharat Biotech was scrambling to ramp up production of Covaxin, which requires BSL-3 facility as it deals with the handling of live SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Along with Hester, Bharat Biotech has contracted three PSUs -- Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation Ltd, Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL), Hyderabad, and Bharat Immunologicals & Biologicals Ltd, Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh -- to manufacture Covaxin drug substance. IIL commenced commercial production of Covaxin in August. Bharat Biotech is planning to have 1 billion doses per annum capacity by December.

The Ahmedabad-based company is the second-largest manufacturer of poultry vaccines in India with a market share of 35 percent.

Hester has a presence in over 30 countries with key markets being India, Nepal and Tanzania. It operates through four broad verticals: poultry vaccines, poultry health products, animal vaccines and animal health products

The company clocked Rs 214.3 crore sales with the poultry segment contributing 73 percent, animal healthcare - 19 percent and others 8 percent. About 81 percent of revenues comes from domestic and the rest from exports.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Aug 24, 2021 07:18 pm

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections
ISO 27001 - BSI Assurance Mark