Translational Health Science Institute and Serum Institute of India Sign a Letter of Intent for Collaborative Efforts in Vaccine Development and Cell and Gene Therapy

01 Jun 2023

Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous Institute of Dept. of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt of India; and Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. (SIIPL), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer; have taken a significant stride towards advancing vaccine development through a recently executed Letter of Intent (LoI). In a meeting held on May 4, 2023, Prof Pramod Garg, the Executive Director of THSTI, and Dr Umesh Shaligram, the Director of Research & Development at SIIPL, formally signed the LoI, marking the initiation of prospective collaborations between the two entities.

This LoI signifies the pivotal role of academia-industry partnerships in addressing critical healthcare challenges, particularly in Vaccine and Cell and Gene Therapy research and development. With THSTI's distinguished expertise in vaccine R&D and SIIPL's global prominence as the largest vaccine manufacturing company exhibiting their quick response during the pandemic - this collaboration holds immense promise for driving innovation and creating affordable interventions for disease management.

The strategic partnership will primarily focus on the development of a bivalent Dengue-Chikungunya vaccine, novel cell and gene therapy to cure HIV patients and other innovative technologies. Recognising the rapid spread of Dengue, Chikungunya, HIV and other emerging infectious diseases in India and LMICS, the urgent need for innovative, affordable and efficacious vaccines and novel biologics becomes increasingly apparent. By striving to create such vaccines, and novel cell and gene therapy products, this collaboration aims to revolutionise healthcare and enhance disease management on a global scale.

Emphasizing on the crucial role of academia-industry collaborations, Prof Pramod Garg, Executive Director of THSTI said, “Academia-Industry partnerships are imperative for the development of affordable interventions for disease management that affect not only India but other countries as well. These associations serve as a beacon of an effective partnership between academia and industry, benefitting India and countries worldwide facing similar healthcare challenges. THSTI has already developed a fruitful partnership with industry to develop new vaccines/products.”

Dr. Umesh Shaligram, Director of Research & Development at SIIPL, emphasised, " I am excited about our collaboration with THSTI. It makes a perfect public-private partnership to develop vaccines and novel technologies in the field of Dengue, Chikungunya, HIV and other emerging infectious diseases, to address global health challenges, especially in India and other LMICs countries. Our partnership exemplifies the shared commitment to tackle this formidable global health burden. As a leading vaccine manufacturer, we are steadfast in utilising our robust manufacturing capabilities and swift response mechanisms to fortify epidemic and pandemic preparedness and expand the accessibility of life-saving vaccines globally. By harnessing our combined expertise and resources, our goal is to make significant advancements in safeguarding vulnerable populations and reaching out to every patient in need.

The LoI signed between THSTI and SIIPL heralds a transformative journey in R&D, as investments and focus in the biotech sector surge amidst the pandemic. This collaboration aims to leverage their combined strengths to drive impactful product development, translating scientific breakthroughs into tangible improvements in global public health.