India’s Biological E Ltd will conduct a clinical trial of Providence Therapeutics’ mRNA vaccine—PTX-Covid19-B—in India and seek an emergency use approval for the jab.
India’s Biological E Ltd has signed up for a licensing and collaboration agreement with the Canadian biotechnology company Providence Therapeutics Holdings Inc to manufacture an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine in the country.
The Indian company, which was established during the “Swadeshi Movement” of the country, also has a separate deal to produce about 600 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine annually.
Biological E will conduct a clinical trial of the Providence Therapeutics’ mRNA vaccine—PTX-Covid19-B—in India and seek an emergency use approval for the jab.
The Canadian company has agreed to sell up to 30 million doses of its vaccine to the Hyderabad-based pharmaceuticals and biologics company.
Providence Therapeutics will also provide the required technology transfer for Biological E to manufacture the vaccine in India, with a minimum production capacity of 600 million doses in 2022 and a target capacity of 1 billion doses.
However, as of now, the financial details of the transaction is not disclosed.
Brad Sorenson, CEO of Providence, said: “This initiative is an important commitment by a Canada-based company to help India and other nations vaccinate their citizens against Covid-19”.
“Providence was founded to serve patients, and this commitment by Biological E allows us to achieve that essential goal,” he added.
Mahima Datla, who is the Managing Director of Biological E, said that the mRNA platform has emerged as the front runner in terms of delivering the first vaccines for emergency use to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
While appreciating the collaboration between the two companies, she said, “We hope to provide India and other countries yet another option to ramp up their efforts towards achieving herd immunity against Covid-19”.
The mRNA or messenger ribonucleic acid vaccines prompt the body to make a protein that is part of the virus while triggering an immune response.
American companies Pfizer and Moderna have used mRNA technology to produce their Covid-19 shots.
However, in India, drug regulator has already approved clinical trials for a separate mRNA vaccine developed by local firm Gennova Biopharmaceuticals in collaboration with HDT Biotech Corporation, Seattle.
The mRNA platform may be new to the global public, but it is a technology that researchers had been betting on for decades.
In the early 1990s, a Hungarian-born researcher Katalin Kariko from the University of Pennsylvania, began testing this technology for the first time as a form of gene therapy.
Now, the mRNA-based approach is also showing promise against the world’s old enemies such as HIV and infections that threaten young children, such as the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and metapneumovirus.