Serum Institute of India joins CEPI global network to boost production of affordable outbreak vaccines

Lines of vaccines on a conveyor belt in a manufacturing laboratory

Capability expansion will support rapid development of outbreak vaccines for use in Global South countries when faced with a future ‘Disease X’

23 January 2024; OSLO, Norway and PUNE, India: The world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd (SII), is joining a growing CEPI network of vaccine producers in the Global South to support more rapid, agile, and equitable responses to future public health disease outbreaks. 

The addition of SII to the CEPI manufacturing network will be a significant boost to vaccine production efforts in Global South regions and will mean the world is better prepared to achieve the 100 Days Mission to develop new vaccines against known or novel infectious diseases within three months of a pandemic threat being recognised. 

To prepare for such a scenario, CEPI is investing up to $30 million to build upon SII’s proven track record of rapid response to outbreaks of infectious disease, expanding the company’s existing ability to swiftly supply investigational vaccines in the face of epidemic and pandemic threats. This would then enable CEPI-backed vaccine developers to quickly transfer their technology to SII within days or weeks of an outbreak to begin rapid production and equitable distribution of affordable vaccines to affected populations. 

Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said: “As part of CEPI’s global manufacturing network, SII’s world-renowned manufacturing and rapid response capabilities are poised to play a critical role in enabling swift and equitable access to affordable outbreak vaccines for the Global South. Living in an era of heightened epidemic and pandemic risk, evidenced by the increasing prevalence, speed, and spread of outbreaks of infectious disease, we must prepare to confront these threats head-on to avoid another COVID-like catastrophe in the future.” 

Created by CEPI to expand the global footprint of vaccine production, the manufacturing network focuses on vaccine makers in the Global South near areas at high risk of outbreaks caused by deadly viral threats like Lassa Fever, Nipah, Disease X, and other pathogens with epidemic or pandemic potential prioritised by CEPI. Given SII’s already proven production capabilities, in the event of an outbreak the company may be called upon to promptly supply investigational vaccines for preclinical and clinical testing as well as large-scale supply. Shortening the time taken to manufacture and validate the first batches of experimental vaccines will be key to enabling a response to an escalating outbreak within just 100 days – a goal created by CEPI and embraced by the G7, G20 and industry leaders – and could help stop a future pandemic in its tracks.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, said: “As a leading vaccine manufacturer, we’re committed to utilizing our well-established manufacturing and rapid response capabilities to strengthen epidemic preparedness and increase access to life-saving vaccines for those who need them most at an affordable price. This collaboration will enable us to respond more rapidly and equitably to public health disease outbreaks, particularly in Global South countries where access to life-saving vaccines can be limited.” 

With CEPI’s funding, SII will also support the development, stockpiling and licensure of new vaccines against CEPI’s priority pathogens. CEPI and SII are exploring which CEPI-backed vaccines SII will support.

Adar Poonawalla CEO Serum Institute of India

SII becomes the fourth member of CEPI’s global manufacturing network. Other members include Aspen in South Africa, Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal, and Bio Farma in Indonesia.

SII, which supplies vaccines to more than 170 countries, has a proven track record of rapid response to outbreaks of infectious diseases. In 2022, the company responded swiftly to an outbreak of Sudan ebolavirus in Uganda by delivering doses of the investigational ChAdOx1 SUDV vaccine in just 80 days.


Notes to Editors

Both bolstering global capacity to make new vaccines and establishing a global network of vaccine manufacturers were recognised as among the most crucial innovations needed to make the 100 Days Mission a reality, in a report published by CEPI in November 2022. 

CEPI’s global vaccine manufacturing network aims to heighten outbreak response capacity and help network members remain sustainable during inter-epidemic periods. 

About CEPI 

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017. Its mission is to accelerate the development of vaccines and other biologic countermeasures against epidemic and pandemic threats so they can be accessible to all people in need. 

CEPI has supported the development of over 30 vaccine candidates against its priority pathogens—Chikungunya virus, Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and SARS-CoV-2—and is a leading funder of research into broadly protective coronavirus vaccines, which could protect against future variants of COVID-19 as well as other coronaviruses with epidemic and pandemic potential. The organization has also invested in the development of rapid response platforms to develop vaccines against Disease X (the threat of an unknown virus). 

CEPI has contributed to a number of scientific breakthroughs, including the first ever licensed Chikungunya vaccine and the advancement of the first ever Nipah and Lassa vaccines into Phase 1 trials. The organization played a central role in the global response to COVID-19, supporting the development of one of the world’s largest portfolios of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, seven of which have been approved for domestic or global use. It also co-led COVAX, the global initiative to deliver fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, which has delivered approximately 2 billion doses of vaccine to 146 countries around the world. 

CEPI’s five-year plan for 2022-2026 aims to dramatically reduce or even eliminate the future risk of pandemics and epidemics. Central to the plan is CEPI’s goal to compress the time taken to develop safe, effective, globally accessible vaccines against new threats to just 100 days. Achieving this ‘100 Days Mission’, which has been embraced by the G7 and G20, would give the world a fighting chance of containing a future outbreak before it can spread to become a global pandemic. 

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About the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd (SIIPL) 

Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, is a global leader in vaccine manufacturing, dedicated to providing affordable vaccines worldwide. Present across 170+ countries, including the US, UK, and Europe, SII holds the distinction of being the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. SII’s multifunctional production and one-of-the-largest facility in Manjri, Pune, with an annual capacity of 4 billion doses, has saved over 30 million lives over the years. 

Founded in 1966, SII’s primary mission is to produce life-saving immunobiological drugs, with a particular emphasis on affordability and accessibility. Guided by a strong commitment to improving global health, the company has played a pivotal role in reducing the prices of essential vaccines, such as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, HIB, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Notably, they are the manufacturers of ‘Pneumosil,’ the world’s most affordable PCV, and the first indigenous qHPV vaccine in India. Moreover, SII has been at the forefront of the global fight against COVID-19, delivering over 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide.

To further expand its global presence and ensure widespread vaccine availability, SII has established Serum Life Sciences Ltd, a subsidiary in the UK. Through relentless pursuit of innovation, SII continues to champion the cause of affordable vaccines, making a positive impact on the lives of millions worldwide.