Panacea forms JV with Refana to develop, manufacture Covid-19 vaccine

Half the 500 million doses will be made available in India. Panacea will start production of the trial batch by September.
Panacea Biotec, a New Delhi-based vaccine maker, has formed a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with Nasdaq-listed Refana to develop, manufacture, and market a potential cure for the virus.

Panacea’s shares jumped 20 per cent on Wednesday, closing at Rs 202.8 on the BSE. The firm is set to make 500 million doses of the vaccine, which will then be supplied to the JV (based in the Republic of Ireland). This will be a wholly inactive virus-based vaccine, which, according to Managing Director Rajesh Jain, is a robust an “time-tested technology”.

“We chose this over others because it is a robust, time-tested technology, and there are no chances of failure in terms of efficacy. In fact, this approach has a much higher probability than any other modern vaccine being touted,” he claimed.


Jain further added that it was easy to scale up in terms of production, and convenient to transport the same. The raw material will be made at the firm’s Punjab facility, while the final vaccine will be made at Baddi (Himachal).

Half the 500 million doses will be made available in India. Panacea will start production of the trial batch by September.

Under the collaboration, Panacea will be responsible for product development and commercial manufacturing, with the JV undertaking clinical development and regulatory submissions globally. Both Panacea and Refana will undertake sales and distribution in their respective territories. “Wholly inactive viral vaccines have a higher probability of being safe,” said Jain. The coverage of this vaccine, according to Jain, would last for several years.

Phillip Schwartz, chief scientific and medical advisor to Refana Inc, said: “Utilising proven models of viral pathogenesis and parallel conduct of multiple pre-clinical and clinical studies, Refana believes it can significantly accelerate the vaccine development.”



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