India's Gland Pharma to supply up to 252 million Sputnik V vaccine doses

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BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's Gland Pharma Ltd said on Tuesday it has entered into an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to produce and supply up to 252 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

The drugmaker's shares hit a record high after the announcement, rising as much as 9.3% to 2,778.75 rupees.

Production is expected to begin from the third quarter of this year, Gland Pharma said in a statement https://bit.ly/2NsYPvW, with delivery estimated from the fourth quarter. It did not specify which countries it would supply the doses to.

India, the world's biggest vaccine maker, has so far given emergency use approval to AstraZeneca Plc's shot and a homegrown vaccine made by Bharat Biotech. It has donated or sold vaccines to more than three dozen countries, while significantly ramping up its own inoculation program this month.

Sputnik V, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute and marketed abroad by the RDIF, has proved to be 91.6% effective against COVID-19. The vaccine has been approved in 22 countries, and the RDIF has signed supply deals with over 13 countries.

Indian drugmaker Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd has been working with RDIF to hold small domestic clinical studies of Sputnik V. The company sought emergency use approval last month, but was asked for further immunogenicity data by India's drug regulator.

India's Hetero has also entered into a deal to manufacture over 100 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.

Gland Pharma also said it would explore more deals for Sputnik V.

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Devika Syamnath)