The Serum Institute of India (SII) expects to soon receive World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency use authorisation for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, produced for mid and low-income countries.
Reuters quoted SII chief executive Adar Poonawalla as saying at the Reuters Next conference: “The emergency use licensure from the WHO should be available and coming through in the next week or two, hopefully, because we have submitted everything.”
Poonawalla added that SII was aiming to initiate deliveries of the WHO-backed COVAX initiative by this month-end.
A single dose of the vaccine will cost $3 for low-income countries and sold to others at a ‘slightly higher’ rate.
The vaccine maker already sold 11 million doses to the Indian government, which is planning to initiate the world’s largest mass vaccination campaign on 16 January.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the rollout of the drive at a total of 3,006 session sites virtually.
In the first phase, the country intends to vaccinate around 300 million people.
Earlier this month, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Covid-19 vaccines of Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech for restricted use in emergency situations.
Meanwhile, Brazil is sending an aircraft to India to carry the first two million Covid-19 vaccine doses supplied by SII. The Brazilian government’s Fiocruz biomedical institute secured the doses.
In a separate development, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Fast Track designation to Innovation Pharmaceuticals’ Brilacidin for the treatment of patients with Covid-19.
A Host Defense Protein (HDP) mimetic, Brilacidin has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
A monkeypox outbreak is emerging in the U.S. and Europe, and at least one country is amping up countermeasure preparedness. Bavarian Nordic has secured a contract with an unnamed European country to supply its smallpox vaccine, called Imvanex in Europe, in response to the emergence of monkeypox cases, the Danish company said Thursday.
Moderna’s recent chief financial officer debacle—in which Jorge Gomez departed on his second day on the job—raised questions about the company’s hiring process given its rush to global biopharma prominence. The most obvious one: How was it possible for Gomez to be hired when he was under investigation by his previous employer, Dentsply Sirona of Charlotte, N.C.
Merck & Co. is plucking a cancer project from the branch of Chinese-based Kelun Pharmaceutical for up to $1.4 billion, but details from the New Jersey-based Big Pharma have been hard to come by. The deal, first disclosed Monday on the Shenzhen stock exchange, has Merck handing over $47 million in upfront cash in exchange for ex-China rights to a “macromolecular tumor project.”