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Coronavirus Vaccine: Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma expects phase-I, II trials by end of 2020

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New Delhi, Aug 14: Aurobindo Pharma has said it is expecting its proposed vaccine candidate for COVID-19 to undergo Phase I and II trials by the end of 2020, while Phase III may be undertaken during March-April next year.

Coronavirus Vaccine: Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma expects phase-I, II trials by end of 2020

Managing Director of Aurobindo Pharma, Narayanan Govindarajan in the recently held earnings call with analysts said the city-based pharma major has earmarked USD 150-200 million towards capex during the current fiscal. He said the vaccine for COVID-19 is being developed by Profectus BioSciences Inc in US, which was acquired by AurobindoPharmas subsidiary Auro Vaccines LLC.

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According to Govindarajan, the company''s viral vaccine manufacturing capacity in India would be undertaken in two phases. The first phase would be ready by October and the commercial facility by March, next year.

"So on the VSV platform, they (Auro Vaccines) arealready developing a COVID-19 vaccine as well and we are creating the capacity in India wherein there are two phases of capacity. The first set of capacity would be ready by October, where we would like to make the product and start the Phase-I and Phase-II by the end of the year."

"And our commercial facility, we are aiming to get it ready by around March-April timeline where we would like to make the product for even the Phase III trials. That is the timeline for the COVID-19 vaccine based on our current assumptions," Govindarajan said replying to a query on the vaccine.

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    AurobindoPharma is working on developing several viral vaccines including one for COVID-19 even as the candidate was approved for funding by the Department of BioTechnology, the company said in its annual report.

    The COVID-19 vaccine candidate underwent an evaluation by BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council,Department of BioTechnology) and was shortlisted for funding initial development, the company had said. Asked about the capex projections, Govindarajan said, "But for the current year, we still believe it should be in the range of USD150 million to USD 200 million (of capex)."

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