Even as drugmaker Wockhardt explores multiple options for next-generation Covid-19 vaccines, its founder-Chairman Habil Khorakiwala says the “indemnity” being sought by foreign vaccine makers is a “standard approach” in other countries, and not a request being made just in India.

This exemption is specific to vaccines, and would not set a precedent for pharmaceutical or biological products, Khorakiwala told BusinessLine . His statement came against the backdrop of foreign companies, including Pfizer and Moderna, seeking indemnity against litigation for their Covid-19 vaccines. For decades now, such protection has been extended by the US, he said, adding that there was a sense of urgency now because of the pandemic.

The pharma veteran is busy with discussions on second generation “multi-variant” vaccines being developed by research companies, besides nasal vaccines that are also easier to administer. The companies involved with both products were still in the early phase of clinical trials, he said, but added the pandemic would quicken the development timelines.

First off the blocks, though, is another tech-transfer deal that he expects to announce in a month. Without divulging names, he said, about 500 million doses will be supplied by October, and its distribution to different markets would depend on the original company.

The product would be made at Wockhardt’s facility at Aurangabad, and if other alliances come through, he said, they would scale up capacity to meet the requirement. The company can make all three types of vaccines in circulation — vector-based, protein-based and mRNA vccines, he said. But Covaxin is not a vaccine they would be able to make, as it requiress required a Bio Safety- Level 3 facility, he said. The company has also offered its services to the Government, to make affordable vaccines for the country, he said.

Wockhardt has an alliance with the British government up to August 2022 to make 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, at its UK facility.