Sputnik Vaccine Output to Surge on New Pact With Drugmaker in India

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Russia will triple production of its Sputnik V vaccine in India following a new deal that strengthens Moscow’s pledge to inoculate a tenth of the global population.

Gland Pharma Ltd., a Chinese-owned firm based in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, on Tuesday said it will supply 252 million shots of Sputnik V from the fourth quarter of this year. This adds to the more than 100 million doses planned from other Indian manufacturers.

The deal boosts Russia’s ambitions for its state-sponsored vaccine, which has exhibited efficacy rates on par with leading Western formulas despite initial skepticism. It also cements India’s position as the world’s leading vaccine-manufacturing hub, producing shots for Astrazeneca Plc and a local formulation, as well as Johnson & Johnson in the pipeline.

“This is the first of multiple partnerships being explored by Gland Pharma to leverage its manufacturing capacity and capabilities to support global supply of Covid-19 vaccine,” the company, which is majority owned by Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., said in a statement.

Gland Pharma’s shares jumped 6.9% in Mumbai after the announcement, while the benchmark index fell slightly.

Russia has persuaded around 50 countries to approve Sputnik, which is being administered in about 30 nations. India, home to the world’s third-worst coronavirus outbreak, is awaiting regulatory clearance for Sputnik. It currently allows Covishield jabs made by Astrazeneca’s local partner, the Serum Institute of India Ltd., and Covaxin developed by local drugmaker Bharat Biotech International Ltd.

“Sputnik is not going to be a big deal for the Indian market,” said Bharat Celly, an analyst at Equirus Securities Ltd. Gland Pharma is “manufacturing the vaccine for the global market,” he said.

State-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, or RDIF, which backed the vaccine’s development and is in charge of its foreign roll-out, is behind its initial targets.

To remedy this, RDIF is now signing partnerships across borders. “The biggest producers will be India, China and South Korea,” Chief Executive Officer Kirill Dmitriev said in an interview this month.

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