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Bharat Bio to scout for new partners in Brazil

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on July 27, 2021

Spread of Delta variant ignites fresh demand

Bharat Biotech has not ‘closed’ effort to introduce its Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, in Brazil and is scouting for a new partner in the Latin American country.

The Hyderabad-based company had last week terminated its collaboration with Precisa Medicamentos and Envixia Pharmaceuticals to supply Covaxin in the Brazilian market, following the suspension of the $324-million order for 20 million doses from the Government of Brazil pending investigation into alleged irregularities in the contract.

However, the cancellation of the partnership deal “is not the end of the road” in Brazil, and “new collaborations are being explored in Brazil to introduce Covaxin,” a source in the company told BusinessLine on Monday.

A local partner becomes vital for the vaccine-maker in Brazil to comply with the norms of Anvisa, the health regulator in Brazil. Anvisa had last week announced ‘precautionary suspension’ of the approval for the clinical trials of Covaxin in Brazil, after the company terminated its pact with Precisa and Envixia. Once new partnerships and other modalities are worked out to get a new base in Brazil, Bharat Biotech intends to kick start the process again.

Mum about investigation

However, the company is silent on the details of the investigation in Brazil, on the alleged irregularities involving the supply contract and the pricing.

Now that the partnerships in Brazil have been terminated, the current state of investigation might be limited to its former partner. The company said it was not ‘worried’ about the investigation as it “employs and follows the highest standards of ethics, integrity and compliance at all times”.

However, according to an industry expert, entry of Covaxin in Brazil could take some time and depends on the final outcome of the ongoing investigation by the government.

Emerging demand

Further, company insiders say that the brand image of Covaxin as an ‘efficacious’ vaccine had not been dented by the Brazil controversy. “There has been renewed interest in Covaxin from new markets such as Singapore and Thailand, where concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of Covid virus are increasing,” said the source.

Published on July 26, 2021

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