Serum Institute would require around Rs 3,000 crore to ramp up production capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, said CEO Adar Poonawalla. He said that they will have to find innovative ways to build capacity and that they have already spent thousands of crores. Existing production capacity is "very stressed", said Poonawalla.
"We need roughly Rs 3,000 crore which is not a small figure considering we have already spent thousands of crores. We have to find other innovative ways to build our capacity so we can support our nation in light of COVID surge," Poonawalla said in an interview to NDTV.
Existing production capacity is "very stressed, to put it frankly," said Poonawalla. The company is producing around 60-65 million doses per month. It has given the government 100 million doses and exported 60 million. He said that SII is still short of its ability to supply to every Indian who needs the vaccine. "The globe needs this vaccine... we are prioritising the needs of India but we are still short of being able to supply to every India," he said in the interview.
Serum Institute hopes to increase production capacity of Covishield to 110 million per month from June onwards, he said. Poonawalla said that the company is producing 2 million doses per day currently.
Poonawalla said that SII is providing the vaccine at a subsidised rate. He added that the company is supplying the vaccine to the government at Rs 150-160. "It is not that we're not making profits... but we are not making super profits, which is key to re-investing," he stated.
The Serum Institute CEO said that the company needs Rs 3,000 crore to scale up. He said that they have written to the government on this subject, failing which SII would approach the banks for a loan.