“We have been given a timeline of eight months and the work is being executed on a war footing,” said Dr. Sandeep Rathod, Managing Director of Haffkine BioPharma.
To further increase the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity, Bharat Biotech had said it partnered with IIL to make the drug substance for Covaxin. (Representative image)
Maharashtra state-owned Haffkine Biopharma on June 2 said it plans to produce 22.8 crore (228 million) doses of Covaxin in a year.
Mumbai-based Haffkine will be manufacturing Covaxin under a technology transfer arrangement with Bharat Biotech.
Haffkine has so far been provided with Rs 65 crore grant by the Centre and Rs 94 crore from the Government of Maharashtra, which will be utilised for setting up a BSL-3 facility for manufacturing and acquiring raw materials.
“We have been given a timeline of eight months and the work is being executed on a war footing,” said Dr Sandeep Rathod, Managing Director of Haffkine BioPharma.
“The vaccine production process involves two stages – drug substance and final drug product. For the production of drug substance we need to build a Bio Safety Level 3 (BSL 3) facility, while Haffkine already has the Fill Finish facility,” Rathod said.
The production will take place at the Parel complex of the company in Mumbai.
Rathod, the doctor turned IAS officer, is leading the project.
BSL 3 is a safety standard applicable to such facilities where work involves microbes that can cause serious disease via the inhalation route.
Haffkine is an offshoot of the 122-year-old Haffkine Institute, which is one of the oldest biomedical research institutes in the country, named after the Russian bacteriologist Dr Waldemar Haffkine, who invented the plague vaccine.
Along with Haffkine, three other public sector undertakings (PSUs) Indian Immunologicals and Bharat Immunologicals & Biologicals, Bulandshaharand and Gujarat Covid Vaccine Consortium (GCVC) have entered technology transfer agreements with Bharat Biotech to produce Covaxin. Bharat Biotech plans to expand the capacity of Covaxin from 10-12 million doses per month to about 700 million doses by the end of this year.
“Enhancing vaccine production capacity using Public sectors assets will go a long way in building production capacity of vaccines in our country to support the massive vaccination drive” said, Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary Department of Biotechnology and Chairperson BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council)