HLL Biotech may soon find suitor to produce vaccine

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on May 17, 2021

A view of lab in Integrated Vaccine Complex in HLL Biotech Limited   -  The Hindu

Corporates show interest in TN’s facility; tender to be open until May 21

HLL Biotech, a state-of-the-art vaccine production facility in the public sector, is hopeful of finding a suitor, with a couple of known industrial houses evincing interest in the Integrated Vaccine Complex located in Tamil Nadu’s Chengalpattu, for making Covid vaccines.

“The tender, which was first floated on March 26, has now been extended till May 21. There are a couple of industrial houses that have shown interest. We would know the details only by the month-end,” said sources who are in the know of the development.

Tender document

As per the tender document, the firm that wins the bid would be able to use the facility for making “Covid-19, other vaccines and biological products” for 15 years. Though the firm initially invited “expression of interest” from private and public enterprises, the move did not elicit much interest from corporate houses. So, the government decided to go for the tender route in March. The first expression of interest was floated this January.

HLL Biotech, that was a subsidiary of Hindustan Lifecare Ltd (HLL) until February, has since demerged from the parent company and is now a special purpose vehicle under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Since the onset of the pandemic last year, many concerned political leaders from Tamil Nadu have been writing to the Centre to make use of this vaccine manufacturing facility. The Madras High Court too made a similar observation while hearing a couple of public interest litigations filed before it.

Ambumani Ramadoss, former Union Health Minister and Rajya Sabha MP, who played a key role in setting up the facility in 2012, in a letter to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on May 12, highlighted the need for making the Integrated Vaccine Complex functional at the earliest for making Covid-19 vaccines.

Call to make unit functional

“Various health experts warn that the pandemic can be prolonged and the virus may remain in the community for another two to three years…To achieve universal vaccination, the government should produce vaccines rather than purchase it from private firms that is several times costlier. Hence, I request you to take urgent steps to complete the remaining works at the Integrated Vaccine Complex at Chengalpattu and start producing vaccines,” Ramadoss said.

Also read: HLL Biotech launches penta vaccine

T K Rangarajan, CPM leader and Rajya Sabha MP, has also been lobbying regularly for making the unit functional since last April. In his latest letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 19, Rangarajan said HLL Biotech has all the facilities to produce sufficient quantities of the vaccine in the country.

The sources said the vaccine production capacity of the facility is several times more than the total Covid vaccine doses that have been distributed in the country so far. They also said the unit can actually start producing vaccines within three to four months if all necessary clearances are given.

Published on May 16, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor