Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that the department of science and technology, government of India, had granted approval to the state government’s Haffkine Institute to produce Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on a transfer of technology basis.
Thackeray thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for approving this request made by the Maharashtra government to augment vaccine production. Haffkine Biopharmaceutical Corporation is a state government-owned enterprise. Haffkine will be getting financial support by way of grant of Rs 65 crore from the central government for developing its vaccine manufacturing capacity.
Haffkine Biopharmaceuticals had asked for around 12 months to complete this task. However, the central government has asked them to expedite and complete the task urgently within six months. The facility will have the capacity to produce 20 million dozes per month once it is fully functional. Maharashtra CM had in February 2021 visited Haffkine and urged the company to manufacture Covid-19 vaccine and pushed them to start talks with Bharat Biotech, the developer of Covaxin.
Haffkine is a 121-year-old biomedical research enterprise based in Mumbai that has been into research and manufacturing of vaccines including polio vaccines.
The CM promised state government assistance to modernise the facility. Thackeray said Haffkine had the capability to make vaccines with the right kind of support and regulatory approval.
Sandeep Rathod, managing director of Haffkine BioPharmaceutical, said that their target was to produce around 22.8 crore vaccines but it would take around one year to start production at the Parel facility in Mumbai.
This would start after receiving all approvals on safety and quality standards from the central government regulatory bodies. Haffkine has an installed capacity to make 22.8 crore vials a year.
Earlier, a committee was formed by the Maharashtra government under the chairmanship of scientist Raghunath Mashelkar to suggest a roadmap for reforms and revival of Haffkine. The recommendation was to allocate around `1,100 crore to implement five projects over a period of next five years.