Biotechnology major Panacea Biotec said on Wednesday it is collaborating with Refana Inc of the United States to make a COVID-19 vaccine widely accessible around the world in an equitable manner through a joint venture company to be based in Ireland.
The collaboration aims to bring to patients a whole inactivated virus-based vaccine for COVID-19. Under the collaboration, Panacea Biotec will be responsible for product development and commercial manufacturing with the joint venture undertaking clinical development and regulatory submissions across the world.
Both Panacea and Refana will undertake sales and distribution of the vaccine in their respective territories.
"The world needs a vaccine that is safe, effective, and scalable in a current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) compliant manufacturing facility which has sizeable capacity and capability to cater to global demand," said Panacea Biotec's Managing Director Rajesh Jain.
"Our collaboration with Refana aims to manufacture over 500 million doses of our COVID-19 candidate vaccine with over 40 million doses expected to be available for delivery early next year," he said in a statement.
Jain said whole inactivated viral vaccines have a higher probability of being safe and efficacious, given their long history and a better understanding of their mechanism of action, which has been elucidated over many decades.
"This vaccine has the potential to become the vaccine of choice for the global fight against COVID-19. We believe and hope that our vaccine will enable the world to get back to work fearlessly as soon as possible," he said.
Panacea Biotec focuses on discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines. Its facilities are WHO prequalified, US FDA approved and cGMP compliant. It is also undertaking the development of a novel tetravalent dengue vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine among other differentiated drug development programmes.
In April 2019, India Resurgence Fund (IndiaRF), a leading India-focused investment platform promoted by Piramal Enterprises and Bain Capital Credit, announced an investment of up to Rs 992 crore in Panacea Biotec.