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COVID-19 vaccine: Serum Institute plans to raise $1 billion to ramp up production

SII confirms it's in talks with multiple investors for its COVID-19 vaccine production plans; it recently received $150 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to ramp-up production

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | August 18, 2020 | Updated 10:45 IST
COVID-19 vaccine: Serum Institute plans to raise $1 billion to ramp up production
SII has already invested up to $200 million even before reaching advanced stage pacts with the government

World's largest vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) is aiming to raise up to $1 billion from big equity investors including Blackstone and KKR, keeping in line with the company's plan to start production of its vaccine candidate -- being developed by the UK's Jenner Institute, Oxford University -- on a mass scale.

The privately-owned firm, which is owned by Cyrus Poonawalla and his son Adar Poonawalla, could soon float a special purpose vehicle as the money raised for the COVID-19 vaccine will be for the SPV only, The Economic Times reported citing sources. Goldman Sachs, Citi and Avendus have reportedly been roped in to manage the fund-raising exercise.

The company has also confirmed it's in talks with multiple investors to seek investments for its COVID-19 vaccine production plans. SII, which plans to make 100 million doses of vaccine every month, recently received $150 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the vaccine development.

With a tie-up with Gavi (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the company aims to produce 100 million doses for India and low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). The distribution will be done through the COVAX mechanism.

COVAX, co-led by GAVI, as well as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, aims to provide equitable access to the vaccine.

The company has already invested up to $200 million even before reaching advanced stage pacts with the Centre and conducting all the necessary trials. The Pune-based company has set a ceiling price for the coronavirus vaccine at Rs 225 ($3) per dose.

Serum Institute has also joined hands with AstraZeneca and Novavax to develop their coronavirus candidates. Initial results from the first two phases of trials of the coronavirus vaccine conducted at five trial sites in the UK showed the inoculation had an acceptable safety profile.

SII might begin its Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials in India this month. Currently, phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Oxford vaccine candidate are going on in the United Kingdom, Phase 3 clinical trial in Brazil.

Also read: COVID-19 crisis in US: Dr Fauci cautions vaccine likely to be partially effective

Also read: Coronavirus vaccine: Serum Institute ties up with Gavi, Gates Foundation for 100 million doses at $3 each

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