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NEW DELHI: Bharat Biotech International on Tuesday announced that it was in the process of expanding its manufacturing capacity for Covaxin to around 700 million doses annually, and will further boost capacity in partnership with Indian Immunologicals Ltd.

“To further increase capacities, Bharat Biotech has partnered with Indian Immunologicals to manufacture the drug substance for Covaxin. The technology transfer process is well underway and IIL has the capabilities and expertise to manufacture inactivated viral vaccines at commercial scale and under biosafety containment," Bharat Biotech said in a statement.

The company said it is exploring with its partners, in other countries, who have prior expertise with commercial scale manufacture of inactivated viral vaccines under biosafety containment.

The Krishna Ella-led company said it is scaling up capacity in a short timeline, mainly due to the availability of new specially designed biosafety level- 3 (BSL3) facility that has been repurposed.

Bharat Biotech is currently augmenting capacity at one of its three plants it has in Hyderabad and is also repurposing an existing animal vaccine manufacturing plant at Bengaluru.

The company is expected to start production in about two months, according to a source cited in a Mint report last week.

Bharat Biotech said it has secured raw materials, packing materials and single use consumables for manufacturing to meet its capacity requirements, and is now also procuring its adjuvant—used to boost immune response of a vaccine—from domestic sources and eliminating imports.

The vaccine maker’s statement on Tuesday followed an announcement by the government on Friday, saying it has roped in three vaccine manufacturers—Indian Immunologicals, Haffkine Biopharmaceuticals and Bharat Immunologicals and Biologicals Ltd.

This would help double the combined manufacturing capacity by June from 10 million per month now, and touch 100 million per month by September after the three PSUs are also involved.

The government has provided Rs65 crore to Haffkine Biopharmaceuticals to start manufacturing Covaxin at 20 million doses per month six months later, while Indian Immunologicals and BIBCOL were also given undisclosed amount to manufacture around 10-15 million per month each.

Bharat Biotech has also received Rs1,500 crore from the government, according to a report by Reuters on Monday.

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