Hyderabad-based Biological E partners with J&J for vaccine manufacturing


Biological E (BioE) is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company based in Hyderabad, will be partnering the US-based Johnson & Johnson to produce their COVID-19 vaccine alongside its own candidate.

This partnership is aimed towards boosting the country’s overall supplies amid a shortage, said its managing director Mahima Datla on Tuesday, to news reports on May 18.

Datla said, “The infrastructure and plants are completely separate for both the products and we will be producing both independents of each other.”

Few months back in February, she told reports that BioE will be looking to contract-manufacture about 600 million doses of the J&J vaccine annually.

India’s government, however, did not factor in any production of J&J this year in the country in a list of likely vaccine output released last week.

“We believe Biological E. will be an important part of our global COVID-19 vaccine supply network, where multiple manufacturing sites are involved in the production of our vaccine across different facilities, sometimes in different countries and continents, before the vaccine can be distributed,” a J&J India spokesperson said in an email.

J&J said last month it had sought permission to conduct a local clinical trial in India for its single-dose vaccine.

Besides taking up the J&J contract, BioE is also in the process of manufacturing their own vaccines which is set to available from August.  It plans to 75 to 80 million doses which is being developed with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Dynavax Technologies Corp.

The United States said in March it would finance BioE’s efforts to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that India was unlikely to resume major exports of COVID-19 vaccines until at least October as it diverts shots for domestic use, a longer-than-expected delay set to worsen supply shortages from the global COVAX initiative.