An investment in one of India’s top vaccine manufacturers, Biological E Limited (BioE), will expand access to low-cost vaccines for children in developing countries and help increase production of a COVID-19 vaccine when developed, a key step in saving lives and restarting economies.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a senior loan of up to $30 million to BioE to support the Hyderabad-based company’s expansion of its range of low-priced, generic vaccines for routine immunization of children. Furthermore, the financing package aims to support the production of new vaccines and boost the company’s capacity for manufacturing any future COVID-19 vaccine.

BioE, an IFC client since 2017, primarily supplies its vaccines to developing countries through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. It has immunized over 2 billion children around the world. The more than 500 million doses of pediatric vaccines BioE produces annually serve to immunize children in more than 130 countries every year.

IFC’s financing will help increase production of vaccines and, thus, competitiveness of the vaccine market geared toward the developing world, pushing other manufacturers to lower their prices when selling through international groups like Gavi and UNICEF to support country-led immunizations.

“We welcome IFC’s long-term financing at this crucial time, when we are gearing up to expand our vaccine-products portfolio for routine immunization,” said Mahima Datla, Managing Director of Biological E. Limited. “We are also working toward the development and manufacturing of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. We look forward to strengthening our strategic partnership with IFC.’’

“Vaccines are one of the most critical and cost-effective means of improving health outcomes in emerging markets like India,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer, of IFC.

“At IFC, we are excited to make this timely investment in BioE, a research-driven company that is gearing up to expand its vaccines for the immunization of children and address global health challenges, including the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.”

With more than 9.9 million cases and around 143,700 deaths as of December 16, the pandemic has stretched India’s health facilities. Delivering an affordable vaccine is critical for the containment of the health crisis in the country and elsewhere, and to minimize the pandemic’s economic consequences.

Source: IFC