The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide at-risk funding of $150 million to support Serum Institute of India’s manufacturing of two promising vaccines by University of Oxford and Novavax under the condition that the Pune-based firm prices the two vaccines at a maximum of $3 per dose.
Under the agreement, Serum Institute will get the funding from the Gates Foundation through Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, and is part of the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) mechanism for equitable access to vaccines for India and other low and middle income countries.
The collaboration using the foundation’s Strategic Investment Fund, will provide upfront capital to Serum Institute to help them increase manufacturing capacity so that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and World Health Organization’s pre-qualification, up to 100 million doses can be produced at scale for distribution to India and other countries as early as the first half of 2021.
The deal builds on a memorandum of understanding between AstraZeneca and Gavi, announced in June, which will guarantee 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate to the wider COVAX Facility, to be supplied upon licensure or pre-qualification.
The Gavi COVAX AMC is currently seeking at least $2 billion in initial seed funding to meet at least part of the cost of procurement for vaccine doses. Last week, the Gavi board agreed the final list of 92 countries that will be supported by the AMC.
Serum Institute had in June signed a pact to provide a billion doses of the Oxford vaccine to low- and middle-income countries, and on Thursday signed a pact with Novovax to produce minimum of 1 billion doses of its candidate vaccine NVX‑CoV2373 for India and other low- and middle-income countries.
This article was first published on livemint.com.