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Wockhardt to make Serum Institute’s vax at its UK facility

Drug-maker Wockhardt is setting up a dedicated line at its facility in the United Kingdom to manufacture multiple vaccines for the Serum Institute of India, Dr Habil Khorakiwala, Founder-Chairman of Wockhardt, told BusinessLine.

The collaboration between the two companies would not be restricted to Covid-19 vaccines, but to others from Serum Institute’s basket of vaccines looking for an expanded market, he said, since Wockhardt’s UK plant had regulatory approvals in the region. The two companies are making a joint investment, he said, without divulging details due to its rights issue.

Earlier on Sunday, Wockhardt announced that it was collaborating with Serum Institute’s UK subsidiary to manufacture multiple vaccines in the UK. And the profit-sharing agreement between a subsidiary of Wockhardt and Serum Life Sciences UK would include a new facility that would deliver an additional 150 million vaccine doses of multiple vaccines.

The new sterile fill and finish facility in Wrexham, North Wales, will create an additional 125-150 jobs, Khorakiwala said. Wockhardt has an existing facility at this location and an alliance with the UK government up to August 2022 to make 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The facility has about 500 people working there. Its collaboration with Serum Life Sciences is an addition to the earlier arrangement, Wockhardt added.

Dr Murtaza Khorakiwala, Managing Director and Global Chief Executive Officer of Wockhardt, added that they would now step up “to play in the global supply of multiple vaccines protecting citizens against infectious diseases – which may include those used to immunise against Covid-19.”

Serum Life Sciences Chairperson, Natasha Poonawalla, said the collaboration would help in building long-term capacity in the UK, besides bolstering supplies to support the global rollout of vaccines.

Vaccines basket
Serum Institute makes the AstraZeneca-Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine in India and for other low and middle income countries. It also has an international alliance to make the Covid-19 vaccine from American biotech company Novavax, besides a few others prospective vaccines of its own.

Khorakiwala did not clarify if these vaccines would be part of the latest arrangement. Serum Institute would decide on the vaccines to be made at the new line, he indicated.

In India, both Wockhardt and Serum Institute have independent alliances on the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, with the Russian Direct Investment Fund. But sanctions by the United States have cast a shadow of uncertainty on the short-term prospects of the vaccine. The Hindu BusinessLine

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