Aurobindo Pharma to produce Covid-19 vaccine for India

Aurobindo Pharma to also produce Covid-19 vaccine for India

Aurobindo said it could currently produce 220 million doses

Representative Image. Credit: Reuters File Photo

Aurobindo Pharma Ltd said on Thursday it would make and sell US-based COVAXX's Covid-19 vaccine candidate for supply in India and to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) under a licensing deal.

The Indian drugmaker also has non-exclusive rights to sell the shot — which is currently undergoing an early-stage trial — in certain other emerging markets, the Hyderabad-based company said in an exchange filing.

COVAXX, a unit of privately-owned United Biomedical Inc, plans to pursue mid- and late-stage trials for the vaccine candidate from early 2021 in Asia, Latin America and the United States.

The companies said the shot uses normal refrigeration as opposed to the freezing temperatures required for some vaccines, seen as beneficial for developing countries.

Shares of Aurobindo Pharma rose as much as 2.3% and were trading up 1.4% as of 0933 IST in an upbeat Mumbai market.

Aurobindo said it could currently produce 220 million doses, but is ramping up its facilities to reach a capacity of nearly 480 million by June 2021.

Its licensing deal comes as Covid-19 infections in India continue to rise after crossing 10 million last week. It's the second worst-hit nation by the pandemic after the United States.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that the country is likely to approve Oxford/AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use by next week.

India, the world's biggest vaccine producing country, is also considering emergency use authorisation applications for vaccines made by Pfizer and local company Bharat Biotech.

Last month, COVAXX said it had received purchase commitments totaling $2.8 billion to deliver more than 140 million doses of its potential Covid-19 vaccine to developing countries, including Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.