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J&J to bring COVID-19 vaccine to India in partnership with Biological E 

Biological E has said it can produce 600 million doses for J&J and more than one billion doses a year of its own vaccine, developed with Baylor College of Medicine and Dynavax Technologies Corp

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Johnson & Johnson is in talks with Biological E to possibly run local trials for its COVID-19 shot and manufacture it in India, a source told Reuters.

A senior government official earlier told that J&J was interested in manufacturing its vaccine in India.

The source, who asked not to be named as the talks were confidential, said a deal was not final but that Biological E had the capacity to expand its existing partnership with J&J.

Asked about J&J’s interest in India and if it was looking for a local partner like other foreign vaccine makers have, a J&J spokesman pointed Reuters to a prior agreement it had announced with Biological E in August.

At the time, J&J unit Janssen Pharmaceutica struck a preliminary deal with Biological E to collaborate on vaccines.

Biological E, whose own vaccine candidate developed with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and US-based Dynavax Technologies Corp, is undergoing clinical trials in India, with late-stage testing due to begin in April, has said it can produce more than one billion vaccine doses a year.

“We are targeting 600 million doses for J&J,” Biological E’s Mahima Datla said, adding it was not clear when they could start production. “This will be in addition to our own product for which we are targeting approximately 1 billion doses.”

Last year, Biological E also bought a sterile injectable manufacturing facility in India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh from Akorn, a site that could produce 135 million units annually and expanded further.

India wants vaccine companies to make locally to sell on the domestic market as well as export.

“We are watching J&J vaccine developments globally and they also have an interest in manufacturing in India,” the country’s top government vaccine official, Vinod Kumar Paul, told the news conference.

(Edits by EP News Bureau)

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