In a move to push the Covid-19 vaccination program in India by enhancing vaccine supply, the Parel-based Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation has signed the memorandum of understanding with Hyderabad's Bharat Biotech to manufacture Covaxin last week.
According to top sources, the new partnership will roll out the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine in eight to 10 months.
According to Saurabh Vijay, secretary of, medical education and drugs department, the MOU will pave the way for technology transfer and several other steps in the vaccine manufacturing process. The science and technology ministry had said last week that things have been set in motion for technology transfer that will allow Haffkine Biopharma to produce 22.8 crore doses of Covaxin in a year.
“We are hoping to start production in eight months. Priority will be to build the biosafety level-III facility in Parel. Haffkine was also seeking the help of IIT-Bombay, TIFR, and ICT in Matunga to build a strong technical team,” Vijay said.
Meanwhile, the Union government has announced a Rs 65 crore grant for Haffkine to speed up the whole process. Vijay said teams would travel to Hyderabad to get trained, while experts from Hyderabad and the department of biotechnology will also handhold the institute.
Haffkine BioPharmaceutical is an offshoot of the 122-year-old Haffkine Institute, one of the oldest biomedical research institutes in the country. The Centre has said the current production capacity of indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine will be increased nearly six-fold by July-August 2021.