VAV Lifesciences expands capacity to be “future ready”

PT Jyothi Datta | | Updated on: Nov 23, 2021
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Biomolecules used in mRNA Covid-19 vaccines and medicines for other treatments

It is the second expansion in about six months at VAV Life Sciences’ production facility in Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), but this one is to be prepared for the future requirements of these specialised lipid ingredients, says Arun Kedia, VAV Managing Director.

VAV makes these specialised biomolecues that get used in mRNA vaccines like the Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. It is the only Indian and fourth global producer of these highly purified lipids that are approved for use in novel drug delivery systems (NDDS).

The stress on the operations and human resource, as witnessed during the peak of the pandemic and subsequently the mucormycosis or “black fungus” time in India, has since subsided, Kedia told BusinessLine . The capacity is being expanded now to brace for future uses of this specialised ingredient, he said.

The mRNA Covid-19 vaccines had put the spotlight on this technology and its use in other medicines to treat cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more, said Kedia. “The Covid-19 pandemic and mucormycosis (black fungus) infections, as well as the rising incidence of cancer or genetic diseases, has brought lipids under the limelight. There was an unprecedented surge in demand for these biomolecule lipids, which led to supply distress in India and globally,” he added.

Through its subsidiary VAV Lipids, the company has invested ₹15 crore to boost production capacity to meet the unprecedented overseas demand for lipidic ingredients, the company said.The nanotechnology research-based biopharmaceutical company is undertaking the expansion at its European Union GMP (good manufacturing practices) certified site at Ratnagiri.

On completion, the expanded facility will produce about six times its current volume, thereby increasing lipid production to meet about 40 percent of global demand, it said. The new capacity would be operational from June 2022 and will boost VAV’s sales by about 3.5 times to reach ₹45 crores by 2023, the company said. The project is funded by internal accruals and EXIM Bank debt, it added.

Published on November 23, 2021

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