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Serum Institute plans manufacturing plant in Africa in global expansion
Serum plans setting up its first manufacturing plant in Africa: Adar Poonawalla

At WEF Davos Agenda, Poonwalla declares support for global vaccine equity -  BusinessToday

Image: Business Today

In a bid to expand its presence across the globe, Indian vaccine giant Serum Institute of India (SII) is mulling over setting up a manufacturing plant in Africa.

SII, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, is reportedly considering the move as the company looks to expand globally.

Africa was the only continent that did not have its manufacturing capacity for COVID shots during the worst phases of the pandemic in the last two years, leaving it at the mercy of suppliers from overseas, including the SII.

“It’s never been a better time to be a vaccine manufacturer. I’m looking at expanding our manufacturing across the globe,” SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“It’s never been a better time to be a vaccine manufacturer. I’m looking at expanding our manufacturing across the globe,” SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“There are some great countries out there: South Africa, Rwanda, you know, to name a few that we’re looking at.”

Poonawalla said he was meeting some African officials in Davos to discuss his plans. Asked about possible investments, he said such projects typically required at least around $300 million.

He did not say what products an African plant might make. Apart from COVID shots, the SII’s Indian plants make vaccines for diphtheria, BCG, measles, rubella, and other conditions.

On “Monkeypox”

Monkeypox is usually mild and is endemic in parts of the west and central Africa. The World Health Organization has said it expects to identify more cases as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not typically found.

Asked about concerns over the rise of monkeypox cases, Poonawalla said he believed the disease was not so infectious.

“We’ll wait and see even if we want to make a vaccine for it,” he said.

Interview Parts

The Serum Institute of India CEO was talking to CNBC-TV18 about the lessons he learned as an entrepreneur. “I have learned that you have to take some risks if you want to be a market leader,” Poonawalla said.

“If you don’t bet on your strategy early and execute, the market won’t be there for you. Take your risk, build your team and have faith in your team, and remain focused.”

Earlier this month, Poonawalla had also offered some investment advice to the world’s richest person Elon Musk.

Musk was at the time dealing with investors to help fund the acquisition of Twitter. “Hey Elon Musk, just in case you don’t end up buying Twitter, do look at investing some of that capital in India for high-quality large-scale manufacturing of Tesla cars,” Poonawalla had tweeted. “I assure you this will be the best investment you’ll ever make.”

The SII has also pulled the plug on a plan to produce and sell about 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik Light COVID vaccine. However, it is still making millions of doses of a version of the Novavax COVID shot for India and other countries, Poonawalla said.

He estimated privately held SII was now valued at roughly $20 billion but said there was no immediate plan to go public.








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