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Bharat Biotech unit to make Pune plant functional by Aug-end

PTI Pune | Updated on May 14, 2021

Recently, Bombay HC had allowed Biovet to take over a ready-to-use vaccine-making plant, at Manjari in Pune, to produce Covaxin

Biovet Pvt Ltd, an associate firm of Bharat Biotech, is confident of making a plant at Manjari in Pune “fully functional” for vaccine production by August-end, a senior administrative official has said.

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech is the manufacturer of Covaxin, one of the two vaccines being used in the nationwide Covid-19 inoculation drive.

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Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao and district collector Rajesh Deshmukh visited the plant on Wednesday.

The Bombay High Court recently permitted Biovet to take possession of a ready-to-use vaccine manufacturing plant, built on a 12-hectare plot at Manjari in Pune, to produce Covaxin.

“The plant has a ready infrastructure. Another strength of the company is that it is very competent and has a dedicated team....I do not think there is any need to create any infrastructure to start production. Everything is in place,” Rao told PTI on Thursday.

Biovet officials, however, are still assessing the infrastructure available at the plant, he said.

“Since vaccine manufacturing is a very sophisticated and sensitive subject and the process is absolutely scientific, they cannot take any chance.

“So they are assessing the entire manufacturing line and other machinery,” the commissioner added.

Biovet officials have promised that within a week they would be able to complete the assessment of the facility, he said.

“With the kind of encouragement and support the firm is getting from the Centre and the Maharashtra government about licencing, permissions, regulatory decisions, etc, they are confident of making the plant fully functional by the end of August and roll out the first batch of the vaccine,” Rao said.

Recently, the High Court permitted Biovet to take possession of the vaccine manufacturing plant.

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The HC gave the nod while hearing an application filed by Karnataka-based Biovet, seeking direction to the Maharashtra government to hand over possession of the unit.

The HC had said that considering the Covid-19 situation, the authorities concerned should hand over the facility to Biovet.

The plant was earlier used by Intervet India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Merck & Co, a US-based multinational pharma company, after land was granted to it in 1973 to manufacture vaccine for foot and mouth disease.

Intervet is exiting business operations in India and has entered into an agreement with Biovet to transfer the land and manufacturing unit to the latter.

Published on May 14, 2021

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