Bharat Biotech readying to start making vaccine from Pune plant

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Bharat Biotech is slated to start manufacturing the Covaxin from its plant at Manjari, near Hadapsar in Pune, from December.

Bharat Biotech has repurposed the facilities of Biovet, an associate company, for making the Covid-19 vaccine. This facility, earlier owned by Intervet India, a subsidiary of Merck & Co, was into production of foot and mouth disease vaccines. Intervet India exited this business in India and transferred the land and manufacturing unit to Biovet.

Bharat Biotech has been working on the production line and building human resources for Covid-19 vaccine production at this plant. The company had started manufacturing the initial batches of the Covaxin Covid-19 vaccine at the Manjari plant and a commercial rollout was expected in December.

It takes the company around 120 days for the roll out of vaccines from start to supply stage.

The company has received local clearances and administrative approvals for its Pune plant and as per initial plans, it was supposed to start production in August 2021. The Pune district administration had handed over a 12 hectare plot to Bharat Biotech for vaccine production in May 2021. District officials had said the plant would have an annual capacity to make 7.5 crore vaccine doses.

The plant has received approvals from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company, Food and Drug Administration, Central Pollution Control Board and Labor Department.

Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech, has said that his company would have an annualised capacity of 100 crore doses by December end. Bharat Biotech has plans to make around 10 crore vaccines a month across its facilities in Hyderabad in Telangana, Malur in Karnataka, Ankleshwar in Gujarat and now Pune.

At present, the company is producing around 5.5 crore doses per month.

The country has administered 13.11 crore doses of Covaxin till date. The company did not respond to queries regarding production plan and vaccine roll out at the Pune plant.

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