Aurobindo Pharma Limited is working on developing several viral vaccines including one for COVID-19 even as the candidate was approved for funding by the Department of BioTechnology, the company said in its latest annual report.
"During the year (FY20), we have further strengthened our presence in the vaccines segment through the acquisition of R&D assets from Profectus Biosciences through Auro Vaccines. Using those R&D assets, the team is working on developing several viral vaccines, including a vaccine for COVID-19," it said.
In November 2019, Aurobindo Pharma said its subsidiary Auro Vaccines LLC entered into a pact to acquire certain business assets from Profectus BioSciences Inc USA for an upfront cash consideration of USD 11.29 million (around Rs 80 crore) with potential earn-outs on achieving certain milestones.
"Our vaccine candidate underwent an evaluation by BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, Department of BioTechnology). BIRAC has evaluated our platform extensively and we have been informed that our vaccine has been shortlisted by BIRAC for funding initial development up," the city-based drug maker said in the annual report.
The company is developing Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV). The global market size of the product is USD 6.2 billion. The company has successfully completed the Phase-I and Phase II studies. Phase-III clinical study is expected to be initiated by December 2020.
The final product would be launched by the end of FY22, Aurobindo said. "The acquisition (of Profectus BioSciences) will also lead to the enhancement of our R&D capabilities and expertise in developing new vaccines from basic discovery to FDA approved products. As part of our commitment to patient needs, we have started working on developing a vaccine for COVID- 19," the report said.
Aurobindo is setting up manufacturing facilities for orals in China, injectables and other routes of administration like patches, topicals, inhalers, among others in India and in the USA. Also, its biosimilars (Unit XVII) and vaccines facilities (Unit XVIII) are ready for commercialisation.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted select business segments like generic injectables due to a decline in in- patient volumes and out-patient footfalls in the hospitals during the last fiscal. However, the muted growth was offset by volume improvement in other businesses.