Russia's sovereign wealth fund, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), has announced a manufacturing partnership with Hyderabad-based Virchow Biotech Private Limited to produce up to 200 million doses per year of Russia's coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V.
The technology transfer is expected to be completed in the Q2 of 2021 followed by full-scale commercial production of Sputnik V, an RDIF statement said. The supplies from Virchow Biotech are expected to help facilitate the global supply of Sputnik V to the international partners of RDIF.
Virchow is the fifth Indian company to have an agreement with RDIF on Sputnik V. Dr Reddy's Laboratories was the first to announce a tie-up with RDIF to conduct the bridge studies (clinical trials) of Sputnik V vaccine to seek an emergency approval for supply in the market. Later Hyderabad-based Hetero Biopharma, Gland Pharma tied up with RDIF for local manufacturing and supply of the vaccine. A manufacturing agreement with Stelis Biopharma, the biopharmaceutical arm of Bengaluru-headquartered Strides Pharma Science was also announced.
"We are glad to sign a cooperation agreement with RDIF to produce the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. Virchow's proven capabilities in large-scale drug substance manufacturing should help meet the global demand for this vaccine. We are also happy to learn of the positive feedback that this vaccine has been receiving from all countries," Tummuru Murali, Managing Director of Virchow Biotech, said.
Sputnik V has been registered in 54 countries globally with a total population of over 1.4 billion people. The medical journal Lancet had published the clinical trial data of Sputnik V which claimed an efficacy level of 91.6 per cent. The vaccine is based on a proven and well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors and uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination, claiming to provide immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.
"Vaccine partnerships are the only way to overcome the pandemic. The world continues its fight against coronavirus and we see a growing interest in the Sputnik V vaccine as it is one of the most efficient vaccines available. The agreement with Virchow Biotech is an important step to facilitate the full-scale local production of the vaccine in India and to supply our international partners globally," Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the RDIF, said.