Shilpa Medicare can make 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, says Executive
Bengaluru: Indian drugmaker Shilpa Medicare Ltd has the capacity to manufacture 100-200 million doses of a protein-based vaccine for COVID-19, a company executive told Reuters on Wednesday.
India, the world's largest vaccine producing nation, has been ramping up the production of COVID-19 vaccines and global firms including AstraZeneca, U.S.-based Novavax and Russia's RDIF have signed manufacturing deals with local players.
RDIF, in particular, has already announced deals with six Indian companies to make more than half a billion doses of its Sputnik-V vaccine, including major drugmaker Dr Reddy's Laboratories and several smaller firms.
Shilpa Medicare's shares jumped as much as 10.4% on India's National Stock Exchange following the news. They were last up 9.2%.
Both AstraZeneca's vaccine and RDIF's Sputnik-V are based on the protein-based recombinant technology, which combines the DNA from a virus with bacterial cells to produce proteins that are purified and used in a vaccine.
"For recombinant vaccines, anywhere between 100 and 200 million doses is a fair volume capacity (for Shilpa) ... depending on the vaccine type," Vinay Konaje, managing director of Shilpa Biologicals, a unit of Shilpa Medicare, said in an interview.
Konaje declined to comment on whether Shilpa Medicare could partner with RDIF or any other vaccine developers for manufacturing COVID-19 shots.
Shilpa Medicare was among the Indian companies that could ink Sputnik-V manufacturing deals with RDIF, Fortune India reported last week, citing unnamed industry officials.
Shilpa makes active pharmaceutical ingredients — the essential components of a drug — at facilities in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, as well as a plant in Austria.
Vaccines for COVID-19 can be manufactured at Shilpa's facility at Dharwad, Karnataka, Konaje said.
Deaths from COVID-19 have crossed 3 million globally, while India is struggling to contain a second wave of the virus that has eclipsed the first.
India has also indicated it would prioritise local vaccine needs, and its foreign minister said last month India had told international buyers as much.