WHO approves Hyderabad firm to make vaccines for Johnson & Johnson

"This is a great progress for Quad Vaccine and the US India Health partnership," said a US Embassy spokesperson.
Image used for representation only
Image used for representation only

NEW DELHI: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved India based manufacturing site in Hyderabad, Biological E Limited, to make Covid vaccines for Jansen/Johnson & Johnson.

"This is a great progress for Quad Vaccine and the US India Health partnership," said a US Embassy spokesperson.

This manufacturing would be done through US technical support and DFC financing. DFC is a US International Development Finance Corporation that invests in the development and advancing US Foreign Policy.

"Quad partners have collectively committed $524 million to the next phase of CEPI’s (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness) which is an innovative global partnership working to accelerate the development of vaccines against epidemic and pandemic threats) work, accounting for about 50 per cent of total public investors,” according to the joint statement released by Quad members after the Summit last month.

DFC is working to catalyze $5 billion in projects that bolster health systems, support infrastructure development, and expand access to clean water, sanitation, and nutrition.

Interestingly, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recently approved Biological E’s Corbevax vaccine as the first heterogeneous Covid 19 booster vaccine in India for adults above 18. They have the capacity to produce over 100 million monthly doses of vaccines.

Biological E. Limited began its operations in 1953 as a biological products company manufacturing liver extracts and anti-coagulants. It later launched its Biotechnology Division (now Vaccines and Biologics Division) and commenced large-scale production of DPT vaccines as early as 1962.

According to the financial agreement, discussed last year, the US government was to extend $50 million to expand Biological E Ltd’s production capacity to manufacture the vaccine.

We are pleased with the financial support from the US government, especially DFC, which was announced at the Quad Summit in March 2021,” said Mahima Datla, Managing Director, Biological E Ltd earlier.’

Meanwhile, earlier this month Johnson & Johnson terminated its agreement with Emergent Bio Solutions Inc to manufacture its vaccines.

Both J&J and Emergent have blamed each other for the breach. While J&J accused them of failure to supply a Covid vaccine drug substance, Emergent said J&J breached the agreement by failing to buy a minimum quantity of Covid vaccines.

Emergent had also warned that termination of the agreement would make J&J owe them anywhere between $125 million to $420 million.

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The New Indian Express