With no demand for its three-dose needle-free Covid vaccine ZyCoV-D in the government vaccination drive, Zydus Lifesciences Limited is now exploring export prospects and sale through private market in the country.

The company has had no meaningful contribution from the Covid vaccine to its revenues for the quarter ended March 2022, and it sees no commercial opportunity for the remaining part the year. This comes after the company had received a government order for 1 crore doses in November 2021.

Speaking to analysts about the financial numbers for the quarter and the year ended March 2022, Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Zydus Lifesciences, said: “I don’t see ZyCoV-D having a meaningful commercial opportunity for this year. Our efforts are going to be to work on exports and private market. And if the policy and the plan of vaccination changes in terms of mix-and-match for the booster dose, we can see some opportunity.”

Against the Centre's order for 1 crore doses, the company had started supplies from February 2022 at a price of ₹265 per dose and the applicator cost at ₹93 per dose, excluding GST. The three-dose plasmid DNA vaccine is administered intradermally using the PharmaJet needle-free system, Tropis, on day 0, day 28 and day 56. The vaccine had received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) for all above 12 years of age on August 20, 2021.

"Currently, there is no demand from the government. We have not been able to fulfil that order because there is no demand for the vaccine from the adult population," Patel told the analysts during the concall recently.

‘No yardstick’

Analysts, however, maintain a positive outlook for the company, terming the lukewarm response to ZyCoV-D as part of the business dynamics and not a yardstick to measure the overall performance of the company.

Motilal Oswal Financial Services, in its report on Zydus Lifesciences, said: “We remain positive on Zydus Lifesciences due to its a) healthy ANDA pipeline comprising niche products b) volume expansion/favourable pricing/new launches in the Domestic Formulation (DF) segment, and c) innovation-led product portfolio under various stages of development/ commercialisation.” It has maintained a ‘buy’ call with a target price of ₹420 for the stock.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Vaibhav Shah of Monarch Networth said: “This is a good product they have developed. But it missed the timing for launch and couldn’t enjoy the first-mover advantage. Therefore, they didn’t get desired result.”

According to the company's management, the two-dose version of ZyCoV-D is still an open opportunity, as it is eyeing a final approval for administration for the age group of 12 and above. The vaccine is to be administered on Day 0 and Day 28, improving the compliance profile, Patel had said.

The company is also working on a multi-variant vaccine for Covid. “We are dealing with multiple strains. So, we are putting it into one vaccine [to address mutants’. But that’s a little longer term development,” said Patel, giving the latest update on the Covid vaccine.