Hyderabad-based Biological E said on Tuesday it has entered into a licensing agreement with Providence Therapeutics Holdings to manufacture the Canadian company’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in India.
Biological E., which also has a separate deal to produce about 600 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shot annually, will run a clinical trial of Providence’s vaccine in India and seek emergency use approval for it, the company said in a statement.
Providence will sell up to 30 million doses of its mRNA vaccine, PTX-COVID19-B, to Biological E, and will also provide the necessary technology transfer of the shot, with a minimum production capacity of 600 million doses in 2022 and a target capacity of 1 billion doses.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
India has been struggling with a devastating second wave of the pandemic and has managed to fully vaccinate only about 3% of its population. On Monday, the Serum Institute of India said it will increase production of AstraZeneca’s shot by nearly 40% in June, a step towards bridging the shortfall in the country.
“The mRNA platform has emerged as the front runner in delivering the first vaccines for emergency use to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mahima Datla, Biological E.’s managing director.
Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines prompt the body to make a protein that is part of the virus, triggering an immune response. US companies Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology in their COVID-19 shots.
The drug regulator has approved clinical trials of another mRNA vaccine developed by local firm Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, and the government has said it will fund the studies.