Aurobindo Pharma informed that it is expecting its proposed COVID-19 vaccine candidate to undergo Phase I and II trials by the end of 2020. Phase III may be undertaken during March-April next year. Narayanan Govindarajan, Managing Director, Aurobindo Pharma, in a recently held earnings call with analysts, said that the company has earmarked $150-200 million towards CAPEX during the current fiscal. He said the vaccine for COVID-19 is being developed by Profectus BioSciences Inc in the US, which was acquired by Aurobindo Pharma’s subsidiary Auro Vaccines. According to Govindarajan, the company’s viral vaccine manufacturing capacity in India would be undertaken in two phases. The first phase would be ready by October and the commercial facility by March, next year.
“So on the VSV platform, they (Auro Vaccines) are already developing a COVID-19 vaccine as well and we are creating the capacity in India wherein there are two phases of capacity. The first set of capacity would be ready by October, where we would like to make the product and start the Phase-I and Phase-II by the end of the year. And our commercial facility, we are aiming to get it ready by around March-April timeline where we would like to make the product for even the Phase III trials. That is the timeline for the COVID-19 vaccine based on our current assumptions,” Govindarajan said replying to a query on the vaccine.
Aurobindo Pharma is working on developing several viral vaccines including one for COVID-19 even as the candidate was approved for funding by the Department of Biotechnology, the company said in its annual report. The COVID-19 vaccine candidate underwent an evaluation by BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, Department of Biotechnology) and was shortlisted for funding initial development, the company had said.
Asked about the CAPEX projections, Govindarajan said, “But for the current year, we still believe it should be in the range of $150 million to $200 million (of CAPEX).”
(Edits by EP News Bureau)