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Serum Institute Nears $400M Funding From Indian Government To Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity

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Vandana Singh
·2 min read
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  • Serum Institute of India (SII), which has been under pressure, had called on the Indian government for financial support to boost the production of AstraZeneca Plc’s (NASDAQ: AZN) COVID-19 vaccine. It seems that help is on the way.

  • India is set to accept Serum Institute’s ₹30 billion ($400 million) grant request, the Economic Times reports, citing a government source.

  • With that cash, SII aims to produce more than 100 million doses of the shot per month by the end of May, up from around 70 million doses per month.

  • The move comes as India struggles with its vaccine rollout amid a variant-fueled infection surge with the second-highest number of confirmed cases globally.

  • For its part, Serum Institute is raising concerns about dwindling raw materials and manufacturing equipment that threaten its production push.

  • In February, the Biden administration said it would tap the Defense Production Act (DPA) to boost shot manufacturing in the U.S. The companies require permission to export, delaying the process, and if the U.S. decides it needs those materials, the government can bar exports.

  • Last week, Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla took to Twitter, pleading the U.S. President Joe Biden to ease exports coming out of the U.S.

  • It wasn’t the first time Poonawalla had raised supply flags. In early March, the Serum Institute chief had warned about export bottlenecks on materials like bags and filters from the U.S.

  • This month, the European Union asked India to allow it to buy 10 million doses of AZN shots from Serum Institute.

  • Price Action: AZN shares are trading 1.56% higher at $51.53 in market trading hours on the last check Monday.

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