Biocon jumps into vaccines through $4.9bn Serum Institute pact

The strategic alliance will see Biocon access a minimum of 100 million doses of vaccines per year from Serum Insititute’s facility in Pune, India.

The two Indian biopharma giants announced Friday a strategic alliance to complement each other’s vaccine and biologics capabilities and manufacturing capacity.

“This alliance will complement the strengths and resources of the two leading players in vaccines and biologics,” Biocon’s executive chair Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said. “Our shared vision of building large scale businesses having global impact makes it a unique and synergistic value creation opportunity.”

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon & Biocon Biologics, discussed the deal on Friday

The Serum Institute of India, via its subsidiary Serum Institute Life Sciences Private Limited, will take a 15% stake in Biocon valued at around $4.9 billion, while in return Biocon will receive committed access to a minimum of 100 million doses of vaccines per year for 15 years and the global commercialization rights to Serum Institute’s vaccine portfolio.

This includes the rights to bacterial, viral, and influenza vaccines, as well as COVID-19 vaccines produced by the Serum Institute. Last year the firm teamed with Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca to develop and make the COVISHIELD vaccine from its facilities in Pune, India, which claims to be the world’s largest vaccine production site making around 1.5 billion doses of vaccines each year.

For Biocon, the deal adds a vaccine business to its long heritage of small molecule and biologics capabilities and the firm has additionally highlighted plans to establish a vaccine R&D division at its own cost.

The Serum Institute, meanwhile, will have access to Biocon’s cell culture and sterile fill and finish capacities for its vaccine needs, and will also bolster its presence in the biologics space by codeveloping antibody therapeutics with its new partner.