After witnessing its fruitful use in the rapid production of covid-19 vaccines by US-based Pfizer and Moderna, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Bharat Biotech International are looking to introduce the messenger RNA network to India. “We don’t have any mRNA-based vaccine network in the country right now,” CSIR director-general Shekhar C Mande said. “Dr (Krishna) Ella and us are still dreaming about how we’re going to get it in, and Dr. Ella is very sure that we’ll be able to get it in the next few months,” he added.
TLR 7/8, a molecule developed by CSIR, has been used as an adjuvant for Covaxin, a drug developed by a company based in Hyderabad. An adjuvant is a chemical that is applied to the vaccine’s drug product to enhance the immune system. CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT) will provide the lipid nanoparticles used to stabilize the drug substance for mRNA vaccines, while Bharat Biotech will produce the vaccines. CSIR-IICT director Srivari Chandrasekhar stated, “We will ensure that between CSIR and Bharat Biotech, we get end-to-end implementations for these sorts of things.” Bharat Biotech, Biovet, and Sapigen Biologix signed a joint strategic alliance with CSIR-IICT on the same day as the launch.
The three companies will also provide CSIR-IICT with the requisite financial resources to produce key basic resources needed by the collaborators, as well as to conduct in-vitro and in vivo tests for the further production of new vaccine candidates and biotherapeutic formulations formulated by the collaborators. Biovet, a maker of animal vaccines, and Sapigen Biologix, a biotech research company, are both headed by Bharat Biotech proponents.