Biological E to get $50 mn from US DFC to boost Covid vax production


Hyderabad, Oct 24 : In a major boost to Covid-19 vaccine production in India, Hyderabad-based Biological E Limited will receive $50 million assistance from the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). DFC Chief Operating Officer David Marchick and Biological E. Limited Managing Director Mahima Datla will sign a finance agreement here on Monday to expand Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing capabilities of Biological E. The funding, announced at the Quad Leaders Summit held virtually in March 2021 and attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will help Biological E (BE) to ramp up its capacities to make over one billion doses Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2022. The agreement will help bolster near-term Covid-19 response efforts and will also benefit long-term global health in India and throughout the Indo-Pacific region, said the US Consulate in Hyderabad. The agreement will be signed in the presence of Patricia Lacina, Charge d'Affaires, US Embassy New Delhi, Joel Reifman, US Consul General, Vani Rao, MEA Joint Secretary, K.T. Rama Rao, Telangana's minister for information technology and industries K.T. Rama Rao, Taga Masayuki, Consul General of Japan and Sarah Kirlew, Consul General of Australia. An informal strategic forum comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia, Quad aims at countering China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region. US pharma major Johnson & Johnson entered into an agreement with BE in August last year for the creation and enhancement of manufacturing capacities for drug substance and drug product for Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine candidate. BE will manufacture over 500 million doses per annum of Janssen, a single-shot vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson. The Hyderabad-based firm is also developing a vaccine in collaboration with Dynavax Technologies Corporation (Dynavax), a US-based vaccine focused Biopharmaceutical Company, and Baylor College of Medicine, a health sciences university in Houston. In November last year, BE announced that it has initiated clinical trials of subunit vaccine candidate in India following approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI). Founded in 1953, Biological E claims to be the first private sector biological products company in India. It develops, manufactures and supplies vaccines and therapeutics. The company supplies its vaccines to over 100 countries and its therapeutic products are sold in India and the US. It currently has 8 WHO-prequalified vaccines in its portfolio. /IANS


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