India’s Serum Institute pledges $66 million to Oxford University to set up research campus
Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, has pledged 50 million pounds ($66.2 million) to the University of Oxford for setting up a research campus that would also house the institute behind the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 shot, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The investment was made through the Pune-based company's Serum Life Sciences unit, said Oxford University.
The research building would be named after Serum's owners, India's billionaire Poonawalla family. SII is run by Adar Poonawalla, while his wife Natasha heads Serum Life Sciences.
The recent pledge strengthens the alliance between Oxford University, the Cambridge-headquartered Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant and SII. Serum Institute manufactures Covishield, a version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca anti-covid shot for low and middle-income countries.
The report says that SII has also agreed with the Jenner Institute, which was behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca covid vaccine, to produce and develop Jenner's R21/Matrix-M malaria shot on a large scale. The shot is currently in late-stage trials.
In September, the Poonawallas had invested 50 million pounds in Oxford Biomedica to help fund the development of a plant that manufactures Covid-19 shots.
Adar on Tuesday said his company is working to develop a vaccine booster shot that would potentially prove to be more effective against the Omicron variant, which originated in South Africa and has caused alarm for its high transmissibility.