TN ready to revive vaccine complex of HLL Biotech

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on May 26, 2021

Chief Minister MK Stalin inspecting at HLL Biotech,Vaccine Lab at Chengalpattu   -  The Hindu

A high-level Tamil Nadu team is expected to visit Delhi on Thursday

The Tamil Nadu government has shown interest in working with HLL Biotech, a Central PSU, to explore the possibility of putting to use the Chengalpattu-based Integrated Vaccine Complex (IVC) for making antidotes for Covid.

A high-level Tamil Nadu team, led by Industries Minister T Tennarasu, is expected to visit Delhi on Thursday to take forward the discussions.

The complex owned by HLL Biotech, a public sector unit directly under the Health Ministry, has been lying mostly idle since its construction in 2012 and the Centre has been trying to either sell it fully or partly or auction it to the private sector for making vaccines and other biologicals required for fighting Covid-19.

It had been inviting expressions of interest from private firms since January but with the response lukewarm, the government expressed willingness to auction the state-of-the-art facility capable of making more than 1 billion Covid vaccine shots in a year. The tenders, which opened on May 22, did not yield much as the bidders wanted the IVC to be given to them “at throw-away prices”, said some highly-placed sources.

In fact, the Tamil Nadu offer came around the same time. Earlier this week, Chief Minister MK Stalin visited the 100-acre facility at Chengalpattu and subsequently issued a communication saying that the State government would extend all support to make the complex operational for producing Covid-19 vaccines and also urged the Centre to extend funds to HLL Biotech for the purpose.

“In fact the Chief Minister’s visit happened around this time and the discussions moved to another level altogether,” the sources added. They said the Chief Minister found merit in working together with HLL Biotech for more than one reason. Firstly, the complex can produce sufficient quantities of Covid-19 vaccine quickly. Further, HLL Biotech can help Tamil Nadu regain its glory as a pharma producer.

There is already an area as vast as 300 acres acquired next to HLL Biotech to be developed a biomedical park. Even though the land was acquired some years ago, nothing has come up so far there, the sources said.

Published on May 26, 2021

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