The Indian Institute of Medical Research (ICMR) has received 31 bids from different manufacturers for developing indigenous vaccine and detection kits for Monkeypox, in public private partnership (PPP) mode.
“At least eight firms have evinced interest in manufacturing a vaccine, while 23 have applied to develop a diagnostic kit,” a senior ICMR official told MoneyControl.
The last date for submission of the expression of interest (EoI) was August 10.
The technical committee met today to evaluate applicants as per the criterion laid down by the ICMR.
“We have held the first meeting. The bids with be evaluated against the criteria indicated in the EoI,” the official added.
Asked if the contract for developing the kits and the vaccine would be allotted to a single company, the official said that the partnership with the government would be a ``non-exclusive one and multiple companies can be awarded the contract.’’
Serum and Biological E in race to develop Monkeypox vaccine
The official said that Serum Institute of India, Biological E, and Indian Immunological have expressed their interest in developing a vaccine for Monkeypox.
Serum Institute’s expression of interest for developing a Monkeypox vaccine comes days after its CEO Adar Poonawalla told MoneyControl that the company was open to partnering with the government.
“All options are currently open. We will wait for the government's direction. So far, no one has contacted me. I am doing what I can at the moment. At some stage, we will have a discussion with the government to align our strategy in tackling this new disease,” Poonawala told Moneycontrol in an exclusive interaction.
The representative from Biological E refused to comment.
Multiple kit manufacturers in the race
According to another ICMR official, diagnostic kit maufacturers like NeoDx and Mylab have expressed their interest in developing Monkeypox diagnostic kits.
“Although we think Monkeypox will not affect the larger population like Covid, we would like to stay prepared in case people need quality solutions for detection and treatment,’’ Hasmukh Rawal, MD, Mylab, told MoneyControl.
Diagnostic kit-maker Genes2Me, that had developed the POX-Q Multiplexed RT-PCR kit for detection of the Monkeypox virus, has also expressed its interest in developing a detection kit in partnership with the government.
“Yes, we did pitch for developing the Monkeypox kit. We wanted to prepare for this infection in advance,” Neeraj Gupta, Founder of Genes2Me, said.The company said it is currently able to produce five million test kits a week, but with increased demand, can go up to two million kits a day.