Wockhardt and Serum enter into UK manufacturing deal
A unit of Wockhardt has entered into an agreement with a subsidiary of Serum Institute of India, part of the Poonawala group. The agreement is to set up a new vaccine manufacturing facility in Wrexham, North Wales, United Kingdom.
The collaboration between Wockhardt UK and Serum Life Sciences UK, a unit of Serum Institute, will result in the creation of a new sterile fill and finish facility in Wrexham, North Wales to manufacture vaccines.
The deal will be to deliver an additional 150 million (15 crore) doses of multiple vaccines. For this, a profit-sharing arrangement has been worked out between Serum Life Sciences and Wockhardt UK.
Both Wockhardt and Serum Life Sciences are fairly confident that this collaboration with its manufacturing scale and best practices would go a long way in addressing the supply chain constraints faced by the pharmaceutical industry.
While COVID-19 will be the driving factor behind these vaccines, the collaboration nis expect to eventually expand into something much larger. The collaboration will extend to cover a variety of such anti-infective vaccines.
It would also be instrumental in building long-term capacity in the UK for such vaccines. This move is also expected to further bolster supply resilience and support the global rollout of vaccines out of the UK.
It may be recollected that Wockhardt UK has already manufactured a COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with the UK government and AstraZeneca PLC. This collaboration with Serum Life Sciences will be over and above the earlier arrangement that is already in existence.
The investment on the facility will be a joint venture between the two partners viz. Serum Life Sciences and Wockhardt UK. Serum will deliver the drug substances to Wockhardt.
However, the facility would still take time to go on stream. It is expected to take anywhere between two years and three years for the new facility to be ready and for the production to go on stream. It may be recollected that Serum Institute has already supplied the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to the UK.
The additional fill-and-finish facility in the UK will help them to have closer access to the highly lucrative UK and EU markets.
There is the potential for the collaboration to expand further. For instance, Wockhardt currently owns plants in the UK and Ireland. The UK plant of Wockhardt UK already makes the AstraZeneca vaccine on behalf of the UK government.
For Wockhardt, this deal signifies its rising importance and the criticality of its role in the global supply of multiple vaccines, protecting citizens against infectious diseases. This could just be a start.
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