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Bharat Biotech inks pact with WU's School of Medicine for COVID-19 intranasal vaccine

Bharat Biotech gets rights for nasal covid vaccine tech, eyes 100 crore doses

  • An intranasal vaccine will not only be simple to administer
  • It will also reduce the use of medical consumables such as needles, syringes, etc., significantly impacting the overall cost of a vaccination drive

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and US-based biotech firm Precision Virologics have jointly obtained rights from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for a novel chimp-adenovirus vaccine for COVID-19. Bharat Biotech will own the rights to distribute the nasal covid vaccine, subject to regulatory approvals, in all markets except the US, Japan and Europe.

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and US-based biotech firm Precision Virologics have jointly obtained rights from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for a novel chimp-adenovirus vaccine for COVID-19. Bharat Biotech will own the rights to distribute the nasal covid vaccine, subject to regulatory approvals, in all markets except the US, Japan and Europe.

An intranasal vaccine will not only be simple to administer but reduce the use of medical consumables such as needles and syringes, significantly impacting the overall cost of a vaccination drive, Bharat Biotech said.

An intranasal vaccine will not only be simple to administer but reduce the use of medical consumables such as needles and syringes, significantly impacting the overall cost of a vaccination drive, Bharat Biotech said.

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"The licensing agreements will lead to rapid clinical development, following the intranasal vaccine candidate having shown unprecedented levels of protection in mouse studies. This technology and data recently was published in Cell and Nature," the companies said.

While the Phase I trials will take place in St Louis University's Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, Bharat Biotech, upon obtaining the required regulatory approval, will pursue further stages of clinical trials in India and undertake large scale manufacture of the vaccine.

"We are proud to collaborate on this innovative vaccine," said Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech. "We envision that we will scale this vaccine to 1 billion doses, translating to 1 billion individuals vaccinated receiving a single-dose regimen. Our experience in viral vaccines, manufacturing capabilities, and distribution continue to be our strong suit in ensuring safe, efficacious, and affordable vaccines. It is prudent for Bharat to be involved in diverse but tenable projects to provide a much-needed vaccine against COVID-19 reaches all citizens of the world."

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine is already under Phase II human clinical trials in India.

"The ability to accomplish effective immunization with a single nasal dose is a major advantage, offering broader reach and easier administration," said Precision Virologics Interim CEO David T. Curiel. "An effective nasal dose not only protects against COVID-19, but it also prevents the spread of the disease by directly targeting the cells that line the nose and throat. Most other vaccine candidates currently under development can't do that."

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