Managing Director of Indian pharmaceutical company Biological E Ltd on Wednesday told Reuters that the company is looking to contract-manufacture around 600 million Johnson and Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine doses per year.
Managing Director of Biological E Mahima Datla said: “We are targeting 600 million doses for J&J. This will be in addition to our own product for which we are targeting approximately 1 billion doses.”
Biological E’s own vaccine candidate developed with Baylor College of Medicine, Houston and American company Dynavax Technologies Corp is undergoing clinical trials in India and the late-stage testing is due to begin in April.
Before rolling out their vaccines in the country, the Indian government’s norms require foreign vaccine makers to conduct at least a Phase-three trial with Indian volunteers even if the vaccine is approved outside India. When Reuters asked if Biological E will help J&J run a small local safety and immunogenicity study in India, Datla refused to answer.
J&J stated that its single-dose vaccine is 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe Covid-19 cases. In the trial of around 44,000 volunteers, the level of protection against moderate and severe Covid-19 cases varied from 72% in the United States, 66% in Latin America, and 57% in South Africa.
On Tuesday, a Indian government official said that J&J is interested in manufacturing its Covid-19 vaccine in India.
Currently, India has approved two Covid-19 vaccines – Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covishield produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) and homegrown Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research.