As pharmaceutical giants ramp up production to vaccinate the world, one firm has shot into the lead.
The Serum Institute of India isn’t a household name, but it’s the world’s largest vaccine maker.
The firm churns out 1.5 billion doses every year from the company’s vast manufacturing plant in Pune, Western India. It is currently making Covid vaccines under license for firms such as AstraZeneca.
SII’s chief executive Adar Poonawalla said, “We took a huge calculated risk,” by betting on several vaccines in 2020 before regulators had even approved of them. It wasn’t a blind risk, because we knew the Oxford scientists from our earlier collaboration with the malaria vaccine.”
SII is privately owned, which enabled fast decision-making between Poonawalla and his scientists.
But funding proved a challenge. The firm invested around 260 million dollars and raised the rest from philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, and advances from other countries.