Biocon on Friday reported a 23.01% fall in its consolidated net profit to ₹195.4 crore for the second quarter ended September 30, mainly on account of higher expenses.
The buzz around an imminent covid-19 vaccine has raised hopes of a way back to normalcy for the billions affected by the pandemic around the world, said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Bengaluru-based Biocon Ltd. Mazumdar-Shaw is hopeful that the vaccine will be in India by June, but added delivering the vaccine to India’s over 1.2 billion population has its own challenges.
"I expect that by January, some of the other vaccines could be approved like AstraZeneca’s or one of our own Indian vaccines like the one by Bharat Biotech. If we finish the clinical trials in the next 2-3 months, even those may be approved by January-February. So I would expect that in Q1FY22 we should have vaccines available in India and other parts of the world," said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw in an interview to Mint.
Mazumdar-Shaw added that these will be emergency use authorization (EUA) only because one needs to see durability of responses before getting the full approval.
Biotechnology major Biocon on Friday reported a 23.01% fall in its consolidated net profit to ₹195.4 crore for the second quarter ended September 30, mainly on account of higher expenses.
"We have been impacted by much higher research and development (R&D) spend that has gone up by almost ₹44 crore and a net loss of ₹18 crore in forex compared to a net gain last year. We've had other expenses and higher staff costs. So I think that's also resulted in muted profitability," said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
The R&D expense of the company for the quarter ended September 30, 2020, was at ₹148 crore as against ₹104 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal.
The Biotechnology company had posted a net profit of ₹253.8 crore for the July-September quarter previous fiscal. Its consolidated total income stood at ₹1,760.3 crore for the quarter under consideration. It was ₹1,605.7 crore for the same period a year ago.
Mazumdar-Shaw expects the first mRNA vaccines will be approved by the end of the year. But they are not going to be available in India because they require a -80 degree cold chain and that is not something which we can handle here, she said.
Unlike a polio vaccine, covid vaccine will be an intra-muscular injection which cannot be given by ASHA workers and others. A great infrastructure along with tracking mechanism will be required.
"You will need nurses, doctors, MBBS students to deliver the vaccine. Apart from human resources, we need to get infrastructure for cold chains to be set up properly. Also, it is a vaccine that has to been given twice (one month apart). This brings in a lot of complexity," said Mazumdar-Shaw.
"You need to track durability of the two doses to have data on chain traceability and trackability.
I think Aadhaar is the best way to do it as it allows you to do something at a massive scale in such an efficient way unlike any other country can do," Biocon chairperson added.