CSIR-IICT Collaboration with 3 Pharmas – Bharat Biotech, Biovet, Sapigen Biologix

On Monday, the 29th of March 2021, Sapigen Biologix, Biovet, and Bharat Biotech (the vaccine maker), with CSIR-IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology). The purpose of this agreement is to sustain cost-effective medical-care remedies for animals and humans and to develop unique platform technologies for vaccines and biotherapeutics. The MCA (Master Collaborative Agreement) will facilitate mutually beneficial and interesting scientific projects as agreed upon by the 3 pharma companies in the presence of S Chandrashekar (IICT Director), Shekar C Mande (CSIR Director General), and Krishna Ella (CMD of Bharat Biotech).

The required financial backing will be provided to IICT to develop the necessary raw materials, conduct studies (in vivo and in vitro) for potential vaccines, and formulate biotherapeutics. The industrial collaborators are required to do so, along with designing such formulations as per the MCA. Related areas will also be covered under such forward-looking activities for advancement.

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Bharat Biotech’s indigenous COVID vaccine, Covaxin’s adjuvant molecule TLR ⅞, was developed via a synthetic process that CSIR-IICT scientists formulated in Feb 2021. The collaboration will follow this contribution by providing strength to various projects that involve exploring creative solutions for vaccine administration, drug delivery, formulating biotherapeutics, and designing advanced vaccines through an excellent working relationship between the collaborators. According to the press release, Sapigen is adept at designing and R&D technology in the life sciences, including biotechnology, while Biovet specializes in animal vaccines. These are part of the CSIR-IICT Collaboration with 3 Pharmas.

Krishna Ella addressed the people present by talking about the need to work on the availability of raw materials which are currently imported. He said that growth in the vaccine field could only happen when the associated fields, technologies, and industries advance along with it. Otherwise, import-dependency won’t let biotechnology advance much in the country. He also spoke about importing certain raw materials from the USA, which doesn’t permit or could pose obstacles to some raw materials importation. He stated this as one of the reasons to come up with the idea of partnering with CSIR.

Upon being inquired about the solution to tackle the problem of raw material shortage, Mande spoke about the government’s eagerness to produce the maximum number of resources internally to adhere to the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ principle. He emphasized the desire to be self-dependent concerning the shortage of chemicals and all other aspects. However, he also clarified that this self-dependency goal was to bring about strength, capacity, and confidence to generate everything in the country and not stop imports completely. He said that the collaboration aimed to work together and exchange valuable ideas, rather than in isolation.

An mRNA vaccine platform is being planned by Bharat Biotech and CSIR’s collaboration, the need for which, as Mande says, is felt today. He also confirmed Dr. Ella’s confidence and ideas on how to accomplish such a task. mRNA vaccine technology is indeed an advanced and highly vital approach, especially during the COVID pandemic. However, the CSIR-IICT Collaboration with 3 Pharmas will also cover different diseases with this advanced platform. Their aim is not only to work towards the treatment and prevention of the COVID-19 infection but also to deal with future diseases and pandemics.

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