Representative image: Sputnik V
Mankind Pharma, one of India's largest privately held drug makers, on April 21 said that it is in discussions to distribute Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said currently there is a discussion between the Indian and Russian governments for supplies and the pricing.
"Once this is completed we may get into action," said Arjun Juneja, Director of Operations, Mankind Pharma.
Juneja said while so far they held talks for the distribution of Sputnik V, they are also more than open to distribute other COVID-19 vaccines.
"We are the most deep-rooted pharma company in India with presence in the smallest of the villages and towns. We have a vast distribution network of wholesalers and stockists. We work with more than 60 carrying and forwarding (C&F) agents across the country. More than 60-70 percent of revenues come from smaller towns and villages," Juneja said.
He also welcomed the government's decision to open the market for vaccinations.
"India can't be compared to other countries, it is complex and huge. So both the government and private sector need to work together for the successful rollout of the vaccination," Juneja said.
Mankind would be ending FY22 with sales of Rs 7,500 crore, and about 70 percent of the sales come from acute segments such as antibiotics, painkillers, and vitamins and the rest came from drugs for chronic ailments such as diabetes, cardiac and respiratory illnesses.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) on April 12 approved the emergency use authorisation of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
Sputnik V vaccine will be the third COVID-19 vaccine to be made available in India.
Dr Reddy's and the Russian Sovereign Wealth Fund RDIF have indicated that Sputnik V vaccine will be rolled out in India by the end of May. Dr Reddy's will import it from Russia in the first quarter of FY22, before the local production kicks in.
India is the leading production hub for Sputnik V. RDIF has reached agreements with major pharmaceutical companies in the country such as Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma, Virchow Biotech and Shilpa to produce more than 850 million doses per year, sufficient to vaccinate more than 425 million people around the world.Drug discovery foray
Mankind had sought permission from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct human trials to test a novel first-in-class anti-diabetes molecule called MKP10241. The oral small molecule developed at the Mankind Research Centre is a GPR119 agonist class drug.
GPR 119 which is highly expressed in pancreatic beta cells and intestinal enteroendocrine cells, will be effective in lowering blood sugar levels, the company said.