Zydus Cadila managing director Sharvil Patel had said previously that the company would be able to manufacture 10 million doses by October 2021 and keep scaling up this year.
“Complex products take time,” one of the people said, adding that “DNA products have never been made at this scale”.
Zydus had received an order from the government to supply 10 million doses of ZyCoV-D, the world’s first plasmid DNA vaccine, at ₹265 per dose, along with a needle-free applicator, which is being offered at ₹93 per dose, excluding GST.
However, the company has yet to start supplying the needle-free vaccine for the inoculation programme, a government official said. The company had earlier set up a dedicated facility – the Zydus Vaccine Technology Excellence Centre (Zydus VTEC) – to manufacture the drug substance for ZyCoV-D.
Zydus Cadila is hopeful of meeting its target and scaling up further to meet the demands of the private market, as it has signed a contract manufacturing agreement with Karnataka-based drug firm Shilpa Biologicals for manufacturing the vaccine.
It has also signed a manufacturing licence and technology transfer agreement with South Korean company Enzychem Lifesciences to aid in its production.
ZyCoV-D has not yet been introduced in the country’s inoculation programme, even for adults, although it had received emergency use authorisation from the drug regulator on August 20, making it the first vaccine that can potentially be administered in the age 12-18 age group.