Morepen Laboratories and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Tuesday said the test batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine was produced at Morepen’s facilities in Himachal Pradesh. Morepen and the RDIF are aiming to produce 500 million doses of Sputnik V in India per annum.
The first batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center in Moscow for quality control. RDIF and Morepen Laboratories signed an agreement in June and the technology transfer programme is underway. Sputnik V got emergency use authorisation in India on April 12.
RDIF has agreements with other Indian pharma companies like Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma and Virchow Biotech to make 850 million doses of Sputnik V per year in the country. Panacea Biotech on Monday received manufacturing licence from the Drugs Controller General of India for making the vaccine at its Baddi facility in Himachal Pradesh.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of RDIF, said the pandemic was far from over with new and more dangerous variants of the novel coronavirus being detected. So, RDIF was increasing capacity to manufacture Sputnik V in India, which has become a production hub for the same. The agreement with Morepen Laboratories would lead to an increased availability of Sputnik V in India and globally, to speed up the vaccination, Dmitriev said.
Sushil Suri, chairman and managing director of Morepen, said the company would work jointly in expanding the production base in India and function in more areas of common interest in future. Sputnik V has reported an efficacy of 97.6% and can be stored in a conventional refrigerator at 2-8 degree celsius. The Sputnik V is priced under $10 per shot.