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CSIR and Aurobindo Pharma to collaborate for COVID-19 vaccine development

DBT is also supporting Aurobindo Pharma’s COVID-19 vaccine development through its wholly-owned US subsidiary Auro Vaccines, under the National Biopharma Mission

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The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Aurobindo Pharma Limited have announced a collaboration to develop vaccines to protect against SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19.

Under the signed agreement between CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Aurobindo Pharma, Aurobindo will partner with CSIR for development of several novel COVID-19 vaccines.

Three CSIR labs namely CCMB Hyderabad, Institute of Medical Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata are developing vaccine candidates using different technology platforms. Aurobindo will undertake clinical development and commercialisation of the vaccines.

Commenting on this partnership, Dr Shekhar C Mande, Director General, CSIR, said, “Joining of hands of premier CSIR labs with industry for the development of vaccines will amplify India’s efforts in indigenous vaccine development and also help in preparedness for future pandemics”.

Commenting on the development strategies for the vaccines, Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, CSIR-CCMB said, “Our labs are working on novel proteins for vaccine development that have the potential to address the need for a second-generation vaccine. We are happy to partner with Aurobindo who have proven manufacturing and commercialisation capabilities”

N Govindarajan, MD, Aurobindo Pharma, said, “We are proud to join hands with CSIR for developing vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This collaboration further strengthens our COVID-19 vaccine development efforts. We are already setting up a large-scale facility in Hyderabad for manufacturing COVID-19 vaccine and other viral vaccines.”

Apart from this collaboration, Aurobindo is already developing a vaccine for SARS COV-2 through its wholly-owned US subsidiary Auro Vaccines. The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India is supporting Aurobindo Pharma’s COVID-19 vaccine development under the National Biopharma Mission.

The SARS COV-2 vaccine candidate is based on the company’s proprietary replication-competent, attenuated, recombinant vesicular stomatitis (VSV, VesiculoVax) vaccine delivery platform.

Commenting on the collaboration with Aurobindo, Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT and Chairperson, BIRAC said, “The partnership with Aurobindo is to serve the country’s need for a vaccine to fight this pandemic. The government is focussed on creating an ecosystem that nurtures and encourages new product innovation to address the most relevant issues to our society.”

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