Pune based vaccine maker the Serum Institute of India (SII) will invest 240 million pounds in the UK to expand its vaccine business and create multiple jobs in the country. The investment is part of the 1 billion-pound India-UK Enhanced Trade Partnership that will create nearly 6,500 jobs in Britain.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday has also said that the SII could even manufacture inoculations in the UK in future.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) has been at the forefront of producing the lower-cost AstraZeneca coronavirus shot, in association with Oxford University.
The investment by the Adar Poonawalla-run SII will also see the opening of a new sales office in the UK and also has begun phase 1 tests in the nasal vaccine against coronavirus, in partnership with Codagenix INC there.
"The sales office is expected to generate new business worth over 1 billion pounds, 200 million pounds of which will be invested in the U.K. Serum's investment will support clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines," said the official statement from Downing Street.
"Serum's investment will support clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines. This will help the UK and the world to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases. The serum has already started phase one trials in the UK of a one-dose nasal vaccine for coronavirus, in partnership with Codagenix INC," the statement added.
The SII investment came after news reports claimed that India has not placed fresh orders for Covid vaccines with the SII and Bharat BioTech since March, whereas the Indian government and the SII have refuted the reports claims.
Poonawalla said his firm has received orders for 26 crore doses from the Indian government.
"As of today, we received total orders of over 26 crore doses of which we supplied more than 15 crore doses. We have also got a 100 per cent advance of Rs 1,732.50 crore by GoI for the next tranche of 11 crore doses in the next few months. Another 11 crore doses would be supplied in the second channel for states and private hospitals in the next few months," Poonawalla said in a statement.
The Financial Times had reported Poonawalla as saying that vaccine shortage could continue in India till July and it is expected that the production will increase from about 60 million-70 million doses a month to 100 million in July.
Later, Poonawalla stated that his comments may have been "misinterpreted".
Covid support from the UK
With India witnessing a massive surge in covid cases and shortages of oxygen and ventilators, Britain has come forward as a support for the people of the country. An additional 1,000 oxygen ventilators were sent to India on Sunday, whereas earlier Britain has already sent 495 oxygen concentrators, 200 ventilators and three larger production units dubbed oxygen factories. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has assured help to India in all possible ways to fight the war against coronavirus.