Aurobindo Pharma enters licensing pact with US biotech COVAXX for manufacture, sale of COVID-19 vaccine

Aurobindo Pharma enters licensing pact with US biotech COVAXX for manufacture, sale of COVID-19 vaccine

Aurobindo Pharma on Thursday said it had entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with COVAXX, a US-based company, to develop, commercialize and manufacture UB-612.

UB-612 is the first Multitope Peptide-based Vaccine to fight COVID-19, for India and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) agency, the company said.

A peptide is synthetic protein, which is quickly scalable.

The agreement also gives non-exclusive rights in other select emerging and developing markets for Aurobindo Pharma to manufacture and distribute the vaccine.

Aurobindo will manufacture the finished doses at its facilities in Hyderabad. Aurobindo has the capacity of manufacturing 220 million doses in multi-dose presentation and is building additional facilities to have a total capacity of nearly 480 million doses by June 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccine

“We are proud to partner with COVAXX in developing the first-ever synthetic peptide-based vaccine to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said N. Govindarajan, Managing Director of Aurobindo Pharma.

“This vaccine has immense potential in eliminating shedding, and hence containing, the spread of the pandemic,” Govindarajan said.

“COVAXX is committed to providing an equitable distribution of UB-612 by prioritizing emerging markets where the unmet need is greatest,” said Mei Mei Hu, co-founder and CEO of COVAXX.

“During this global health crisis response, we must establish partners with the strongest capabilities, like Aurobindo, to prioritize the development and the delivery of our vaccine,” Hu said.

The UB-612, the vaccine candidate of COVAXX is a multitope vaccine designed to activate both B and T-cell arms of the immune system.

“Preclinical studies have shown that the UB-612 vaccine candidate generated high titers of neutralizing antibodies,” COVAXX said.

COVAXX is a subsidiary of United Biomedical Inc (UBI), founded in 1985, with headquarters in New York. The company manufactures more than 100 million antibody blood diagnostic tests and 5 billion vaccine doses against infectious diseases in animal health.

Money control in November reported here that India’s second-largest drug maker, said it is looking at possible tie-ups with companies to do contract manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines. This will be in addition to the company’s own efforts to develop a vaccine.

The company said it is investing Rs 250-Rs 275 crore on a new facility to manufacture vaccines that would be ready by April. Aurobindo’s upcoming vaccine facility will have the capacity to manufacture 400 – 450 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Aurobindo said it is capable of doing both fill and finish, and also manufacture bulk vaccines, depending on the need of the customer.

Aurobindo has announced its own COVID-19 vaccine development programme through its US subsidiary Auro Vaccines. That vaccine, which uses recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (RVSV) vector platform, is being developed by Profectus BioSciences, which was acquired by Aurobindo Pharma in November last year. This vaccine is still in the pre-clinical phase.

Aurobindo has also partnered with three CSIR labs – Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, Institute of Medical Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, and the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata, to vaccine-making candidates using three different technology platforms. Aurobindo will undertake the clinical development and commercialization of these vaccines.

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