A day after its deal with American vaccine developer Novavax, Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has tied up with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 10 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India and other low income countries by 2021.
For this, the Gates Foundation will provide an at-risk funding of $150 million to GAVI, which will then be used to support the Serum Institute of India to manufacture potential vaccine candidates, and for future procurement of vaccines for low- and middle-income countries via Gavi's COVAX AMC. SII has set a ceiling price of $3 (approximately Rs 225) per dose.
"Too many times we have seen the most vulnerable countries left at the back of the queue when it comes to new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines," said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
"In an attempt to make our fight against COVID-19 stronger and all-embracing; SII has partnered with Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of future COVID vaccines for low and middle income countries in 2021," said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII.
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Poonawalla's SII has also entered a licence and supply agreement for the development and commercialisation of Novavax’ COVID‑19 vaccine candidate in India and other low- and middle-income countries. The deal was signed on July 30, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Novavax.
This comes at a time when the Indian drug maker is already gearing up to undertake late stage human trials on the Oxford-AstaZeneca vaccine candidate. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has already given a go-ahead to SII for conducting Phase II and III human clinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate.