Companies

Biocon, SII join hands to focus on vaccines, other biotech products

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 17, 2021

BBL to offload 15% stake to SILS; to get 100 million doses annually for 15 years

Home-spun companies Biocon and Serum Institute of India have come together for a 15-year pact covering vaccines and other biological products, even as they look to invest and strengthen the pipeline of materials and consumables that go towards having a final product.

The broad contours of the alliance were shared by Biocon Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and Serum Institute Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla, hours after the two companies announced the deal executed through their respective subsidiaries, Biocon Biologics Limited (BBL) and Serum Institute Life Sciences Private Limited (SILS).

The agreement involved BBL offloading 15 per cent stake to SILS, at total valuation of $4.9 billion, giving it access to 100 million doses of vaccines annually, for 15 years. It will also give Adar Poonawalla a board seat on BBL.

Besides vaccines, the alliance will look to develop antibodies targeting infectious diseases, including Dengue and HIV.

The pandemic has brought home the message on the importance of vaccines, and the alliance will look to leverage the research and manufacturing of both companies, explained Shaw.

BBL will have access to the vaccines from SILS’s upcoming Pune facility with commercialisation rights to its vaccine portfolio (including Covid vaccines) for global markets.

BBL expects to generate a committed revenue stream and related margins, starting from the second half of FY23. The two companies will enter Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for manufacturing and distribution of the vaccines and antibodies, it added.

Self-reliance

Poonawalla said that BBL will have access to Covishield (the AstraZeneca-OxfordUniversity vaccine), and other Covid vaccines from the Serum Institute stable, the Covovax product (from US company Novovax ), and more.

Recalling his 2020 decision to shelve development of monoclonal antibodies to focus all their energies on Covid vaccines, he said the present alliance had opportunities to pick up and build on other therapies. Significantly, given the raw material and consumable shortages confronting the vaccine and biological products industry, he said they will identify critical products, be it raw materials, media, chemicals, reusables, and invest in companies making them to make the country self-reliant.

Transaction details

BBL will establish, at its cost, a vaccine research and development division to support the alliance in developing both vaccines and biologics for communicable diseases. Additionally, wherever possible, it will make available its cell culture and sterile fill and finish capacities, for vaccine production, it said.

On the transaction, the company said BBL will issue shares and receive the rights through a merger with Covidshield Technologies Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SILS, subject to regulatory approvals.

Published on September 17, 2021

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