Indian Cos Missing the Bus on Vaccines, mRNA-based Technologies: Jefferies

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Vaccines and mRNA-based technologies have rapidly emerged as promising new therapeutic modalities, but Indian companies are lagging behind in adopting these innovation platforms.

A report by foreign brokerage Jefferies said that Indian companies are missing the bus on relatively low-risk innovation.

At a recent health conference in the US, several vaccine companies, including CureVac, Valneva, BioNtech and Novavax, set out their growth plans for a post-Covid world.

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The report said that mass inoculation with mRNA vaccines has validated the mRNA technology and put vaccines in the spotlight. The companies set out plans to use mRNA technology/vaccines for other infectious diseases, such as flu and Chikungunya, and in oncology.

“Our impression is that mRNA technology is widely available beyond the two major mRNA Covid vaccine producers. With the success of the Covid vaccines, conventional long timelines to vaccine approvals are likely to shorten and regulators should also accelerate the approval process,” Jefferies said.

“India’s vaccine deficit has provided a ready market for Indian companies to recoup initial investments in mRNA/vaccines. The existing commercial producers have been quick to scale up mRNA vaccines and a 30,000-subject India Covid trial costs $20 million, as per our estimate,” it added.

“Despite these advantages in a potential growth segment, the companies we cover, apart from Cadila, have shown a lack of interest in seeding these relatively low-risk opportunities,” Jefferies said in the note.

It said vaccines and mRNA-based technologies have rapidly emerged as promising new therapeutic modalities. Indian companies are lagging behind in adopting these innovation platforms, despite Covid-19 providing a mode of entry, it added.

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