Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has said that it is set to enter into a partnership of $150 million with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the GAVI vaccines alliance to make 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for India and other emerging economies as early as 2021. The company has set an affordable ceiling price of $3 (around Rs 225) per dose. The vaccine will be made available to 92 countries included in GAVI’s COVAX AMC.
“I would like to thank Bill Gates, Gates Foundation, and GaviSeth for this key partnership of risk-sharing and manufacturing of 100 million doses, which will also ensure equitable access at an affordable price to many countries around the world,” Adar Poonawalla, CEO and Owner, Serum Institute of India tweeted.
I would like to thank @BillGates, @gatesfoundation, @GaviSeth for this key partnership of risk sharing and manufacturing of a 100 million doses, which will also ensure equitable access at an affordable price to many countries around the world. https://t.co/NDmpo23Ay8 pic.twitter.com/jNaNh6xUPy
— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) August 7, 2020
“The funding will support at-risk manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO prequalification,” the Serum Institute said in a statement. The Gates-Serum partnership will guarantee poorer countries are not cut out by high prices once a vaccine is approved.
This comes at a time when the Indian drugmaker is already gearing up to undertake late-stage human trials on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate. The country’s drug regulator—the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier granted permission to the Serum Institute to conduct phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials on the potential vaccine for the viral infection.