HYDERABAD: Vaccine major Bharat Biotech has joined hands with inked a licensing agreement with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for developing, conducting clinical trials, manufacturing and distributing a novel chimp-adenovirus, single dose intranasal vaccine for Covid-19.
As per the pact, while St Louis-based biotech startup Precision Virologics will have the rights to distribute the vaccine candidate in USA, Europe and Japan, Bharat Biotech owns the rights to distribute the vaccine in all the other markets globally.
While the Phase I trials for the vaccine will take place in Saint Louis University’s vaccine & treatment evaluation unit, the Hyderabad-based vaccine major will take up further stages of the clinical trials in India after obtaining the requisite regulatory approval.
The intranasal vaccine candidate has shown “unprecedented levels of protection in mice studies; the technology and data for which was also recently published in scientific journal Cell.
Bharat Biotech will also be taking up large scale manufacture of the vaccine at its GMP facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad, with plans to manufacture about a billion doses.
“We envision that we will scale this vaccine to 1 billion doses, translating to 1 billion individuals vaccinated receiving a single-dose regimen. An intranasal vaccine will not only be simple to administer but reduce the use of medical consumables such as needles and syringes, significantly impacting the overall cost of a vaccination drive,” said Dr Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director, Bharat Biotech.
“The ability to accomplish effective immunization with a single nasal dose is a major advantage, offering broader reach and easier administration. An effective nasal dose not only protects against Covid-19, but also prevents the spread of the disease by offering another kind of immunity that occurs primarily in the cells that line the nose and throat. Most other vaccine candidates currently under development can’t do that,” said Dr David T Curiel, director, Biologic Therapeutics Center and Professor of radiation oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and interim CEO of Precision Virologics.
This is the fourth potential Covid-19 vaccine that Bharat Biotech has in its portfolio, including the indigenous Covaxin that it is developing in tie-up with ICMR-NIV and is undergoing Phase II human clinical trials.



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