Hyderabad: DFC, Biological E. finalize deal to expand COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing

Hyderabad: The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Biological E. Limited today unveiled the expansion of Biological E.’s vaccine manufacturing facility in Hyderabad and formalised a $50 million arrangement to expand the company’s capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines.

The $50 million agreement is based on a U.S. government financing arrangement. “The continued partnership will help bolster near-term COVID-19 response efforts and will also benefit long-term global health in India and throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” said a statement from both companies on Monday. The new vaccine expansion is in support of “the historic commitment set out by American President Biden and his counterparts in the ‘Quad’ – Australia, India, Japan, and the United States,” added the release.

On Monday, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Patricia Lacina, U.S. Consul General Joel Reifman, Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary Vani Rao, Telangana Principal Secretary of IT & Industries Jayesh Ranjan, Japanese Consul General Taga Masayuki, and Australian Consul General Sarah Kirlew participated in the event in Hyderabad.

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“DFC’s partnership with Biological E will support capacity for production of more than one billion vaccine doses by the end of 2022 for India and for developing countries around the world,” said David Marchick, Chief Operating Officer, DFC. “Today’s agreement represents a model of the close collaboration among countries that will be essential to achieve President Biden’s goal of ending the pandemic in 2022. Scaling Biological E.’s new facility, which is already producing vaccines, will help close the vaccine gap and save lives in developing countries,” he added.

DFC’s partnership with Biological E is projected to facilitate capacity expansion to produce nearly 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses across the globe, with more projects in the pipeline. The agency is also working on expanding access to critical therapeutics and introducing medical equipment designed for low-resource environments, added the release.

“We are pleased with the financial support from the U.S. government, especially DFC, which was announced at the Quad Summit in March 2021,” said Ms. Mahima Datla, Managing Director, Biological E. Limited. “This investment will not only help us augment our capacity to produce more COVID-19 vaccines, but also help the global community that has been relentlessly fighting against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.

Several US government agencies, including DFC, the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the National Security Council, have worked together to support Biological E.’s manufacturing. DFC and Biological E. have also collaborated with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), which provided early research and technical support for the company’s COVID vaccine efforts.

Speaking about the partnership, Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEPI Chief Executive Officer, said “I’m delighted that DFC is supporting CEPI’s vaccine development partner Bio E to increase their manufacturing capacity. International collaborations such as this to expand and diversify global manufacturing capacity are key to controlling COVID-19 and strengthening global health security for the benefit of the entire world.”

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