Tracking record of coronavirus vaccine makers

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuring that the Covid-19 vaccine could be ready in India in a few weeks, all eyes are on the vaccine makers who are standing on the cusp of history. A slew of vaccine makers are in the race; we look at the track record of some prominent ones.


Established in 1996 by Dr Krishna M Ella and his wife Suchitra Ella as a vaccine and bio-therapeutics company, it has over 140 patents today. The company is working with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) to develop India’s own indigenous Covid-19 vaccine. The trials are in the final phase and the results are expected in the first quarter of 2021.

Track Record: Bharat Biotech has a portfolio of more than 16 vaccines and has delivered over 4 billion vaccine doses across 116 countries. These include Polio, Rabies, Rotavirus, Japanese Encephalitis, Chikungunya and Zika vaccines. It has also conducted more than 75 clinical trials. It has three World Health Organisation (WHO) pre-qualified vaccines for Polio, Rotavirus and Typhoid. In a joint partnership with the ICMR and NIV, the company has a working vaccine against Japanese Encephalitis. It also launched India’s first H1N1 vaccine in 2010.


Serum Institute of India (SII) is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume. Founded in 1966 by Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla, SII has partnered with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to supply one billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for low and middle-income countries. The vaccine has completed its clinical trials and expecting approval later this month in the United Kingdom.

The SII-made vaccine could be one of the first available Covid vaccines in India. Besides AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, the SII has also partnered with Novavax to make its Covid vaccine which will be available for India, if successful. It is also developing separate coronavirus vaccines with UK’s Spybiotech and US-based Codagenix for their upcoming Covid shots.

Track Record: Being the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, the SII’s vaccine portfolio includes vaccines for Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella. The company estimates that about 65 per cent of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute. Its WHO accredited vaccines are distributed across around 170 countries.

During the trials of its Covid vaccine, a Chennai-based volunteer claimed that he suffered neurological and psychological side-effects and sought compensation. The SII issued a legal notice to the volunteer and clarified that the Data and Safety Monitoring Board and the Ethics Committee independently cleared and reckoned the incident as a non-related issue to the vaccine trial. The SII also submitted all reports and data related to the incident before the Drugs Controller General of India and received a clearance for further trials.


Founded in 1952, this Ahmedabad-based pharma company has received approval to conduct the phase 3 clinical trials of the indigenously-developed Covid-19 vaccine. If successful, it could be the second domestically developed Covid vaccine for India.

Track Record: Unlike Bharat Biotech and SII, Zydus Cadila’s has seen more success in therapeutics and innovative healthcare solutions than vaccines. However, Zydus has India’s first Tetravalent Inactivated Influenza vaccine which provides protection from the four different influenza viruses. The company says its Rabies vaccine manufacturing facility has also received WHO pre-qualification.


Dr Reddy’s Lab has partnered with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct clinical trials in India. Sputnik V vaccine initially received skeptical reception from the scientist community for the lack of clarity on its early trial data.

However, Sputnik announced encouraging phase 3 data from Russian trials with over 90 per cent efficacy. The trial in India will be independently assessed by Indian regulators and if successful, Dr Reddy’s could distribute first 100 million doses of Sputnik V in India.

Track Record: Dr Reddy’s commenced its generics business in India in 1986 and has over 200 products today. However, its core expertise is more focused on therapeutics than vaccines. It offers a portfolio of products and services, including APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients), custom pharmaceutical services, generics, biosimilars and differentiated formulations. The company operates in major markets, including the USA, India, Russia and Europe.



A US-based biotechnology company that was founded only 10 years ago made headlines when it became the first company to start the human clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine earlier this year. According to Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, its researchers were able to prepare the computer model of its vaccine in just two days.

Fully funded by the US government for its Covid vaccine, it is expecting emergency approval from the US regulators later this month. Although all of Moderna’s reserve doses are expected to be used in the US, it has also recently filed applications with the World Health Organisation for future global distribution of its vaccine.

Track Record: Moderna has not developed a vaccine yet. If approved, it will be Moderna’s first vaccine.


Earlier this week, Pfizer became the first pharma company to receive the regulatory approval for its vaccine. The company said it was open to work with countries around the world, including the government of India. But, it is highly unlikely that this vaccine would make its way to India in near future due to its extremely complex storage and transportation requirements.

However, the government of India now has an option to negotiate to procure a limited quantity of this approved vaccine under exceptional circumstances.

Track Record: Pfizer is 171-year-old US-based company that has partnered with the Germany-based biotech company BioNtech for this vaccine. BioNtech was founded only 12 years ago. Ten of Pfizer’s popular products fetch approximately $1 billion in annual revenue in more than 125 countries.

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