Epygen Biotech on Monday said it has received a funding of Rs 24 crore from the Department of Biotechnology to initiate trials for a new COVID vaccine.
With an anticipated price point of less than Rs 150 per dose, this will be the first time an Indian company will be able to adopt the highly productive C1-cell protein production platform, which has been demonstrated by the scientists at the European Union Zoonotic Anticipation and Preparedness Initiative (ZAPI) program, Epygen Biotech said in a statement.
The company said it has received funding to initiate the Phase I and Phase II trials of an indigenous affordable Receptor-Binding Domain (RBD) based vaccine against the present and future SARS-CoV–2 variants.
This vaccine will be made available to the government as well as for private consumption and is expected to hit the Indian market by the end of 2022 or early 2023, it added.
The company plans to initially produce a minimum of 100 million doses of this vaccine to help address health disparity in the subcontinent, it noted.
"There exists a natural process of continuous mutation of coronavirus. Vaccines have to evolve against new variants to stay ahead in the game. The team has already developed antigens against the Wuhan (the original COVID-19 virus), Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron variants," Epygen Biotech Founder and CMD Debayan Ghosh said.
The Department of Biotechnology of India has thoroughly evaluated the company's data from Europe, Israel and India before facilitating the funding for Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, he added.
"We are further planning to raise Rs 200 Crores for Phase III, which will help us augment our production capacity and roll out the vaccine as soon as possible," Ghosh stated.