More Sputnik V partnerships in India in 2 weeks: RDIF CEO

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on April 15, 2021

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO, RDIF   -  Alexei Druzhinin

Russia and India will be the largest production hubs for Sputnik V, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamalaya Centre, said Kirill Dmitriev, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The Indian drug regulator gave its go-ahead to the vaccine on Tuesday.

Five production partnerships have already been tied up, and more would be announced in the next two weeks, said the chief of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, and these could be with large pharmaceutical companies or partnerships to “fill finish” vaccines, he said.

While India would be the 60th country to approve Sputnik V, he did not clarify the number of doses that would be available for India. Production would commence shortly and touch 50 million doses a month by summer, he said, indicating that the roll-out could be by May. Other manufacturing hubs include Korea and China, he added.

The production capacity of Indian partners, including Hetero, Gland Pharma, Panacea Biotech, Virchow and Strides, totals 850 million doses and reports suggest that 250 million could be available for India. No clarity was given on the pricing of the vaccine for India either, as RDIF prices its vaccine at less than $10 in the international market. There was no response to whether talks were on with Serum Institute for possible “fill finish” alliances, as well.

Pointing out that Sputnik V had undertaken Phase-II and -III clinical trials in India, through Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Dmitriev said it had shown “very good results”. The vaccine is one of only three in the world that has efficacy of over 90 per cent, he said, adding that “real world data” had shown that it was the safest. At least three billion people live in the countries that it has been approved.

He ruled out picking up equity in the Indian manufacturing partners, but said that RDIF did finance working capital requirements to make the vaccines.

Published on April 13, 2021

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