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No plans to get into vaccine production as it requires separate manufacturing infra: Sun Pharma

The Mumbai-based company, which is strong in various generic therapeutic segments, is eyeing biosimilars to fuel its future growth.

June 13, 2021 / 01:17 PM IST
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Sun Pharma has no immediate plans to enter into vaccine production as getting into the vertical would require an altogether different manufacturing set-up, as per a top company official.

The Mumbai-based company, which is strong in various generic therapeutic segments, is eyeing biosimilars to fuel its future growth.

“I think our preliminary assessment indicates that vaccines will require a dedicated manufacturing facility and it cannot be produced in a facility where we are making multiple other products,” Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Managing Director Dilip Shanghvi said in a call with analysts.

The billionaire industrialist noted that for getting into vaccine production, a completely new set of manufacturing infrastructure is required.

“So, that''s broadly our understanding. So, we currently don''t have any facility which we are looking at for producing vaccines,” Shanghvi said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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On the biosimilar front, he noted that the drug firm is looking to develop a range of such products.

“We are evaluating development of some biosimilars which can be classified amongst the third wave of biosimilars,” Shanghvi said while clarifying that the company is looking at 2030 kind of timeline for such products to hit the market.

A biosimilar is a product which is similar to another already approved biological medicine.

The company is looking at products which have significant future patent expiry dates so that it could be amongst the first firms to get initial approvals, Shanghvi said.

“That''s the focus and priority. And that''s not the only (thing), there are multiple priorities, and also (we are) trying to find a way by which we can leverage our presence in the market so that we can successfully build a biosimilars portfolio,” he added.

He noted that the development of the biosimilars would not be a ''big drain'' on the company''s cash flow and profitability.

Commenting on the US business, he said the drug firm''s current generic pipeline for the US market includes 94 abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) and nine new drug applications (NDAs) awaiting approval with the US FDA.

In 2020-21, the company launched around 18 new products in the US.

On business outlook, Shanghvi noted: “Given the uncertainties of the pandemic in the near term, we are refraining from giving guidance for FY22. However, all our businesses are well positioned and our endeavour will be to grow the business, notwithstanding the near term uncertainties related to COVID-19.”

The drug firm''s revenue from operations stood at Rs 33,498 crore in 2020-21.

Commenting on the company''s Halol plant, which has been under the USFDA radar for the last few years, Shanghvi said the drug firm is waiting for the regulator to inspect the facility.

“We have requested for an inspection. Now, I think it''s up to them to inspect the facility. And hopefully this time we should be able to clear it successfully, that''s the focus,” he added.
PTI
first published: Jun 13, 2021 01:17 pm

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