One of Bangladesh's largest drugmakers, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, has announced that it will invest in the Serum Institute of India (SII) for the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
The deal is aimed at ensuring that Bangladesh has access to the vaccine.
SII is the largest vaccine manufacturer and is conducting trials for three potential coronavirus vaccines, including the Oxford University-AstraZeneca's AZD1222 vaccine.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals announced in a statement Friday that it will invest in SII.
Although the statement did not disclose the size of the investment, it said the amount will depend on regulatory approvals, SII's production capacity, and earlier commitments to other countries.
After the vaccine receives all necessary regulatory approvals, SII will prioritize Bangladesh to send an agreed quantity of doses, the statement added.
Speaking to NDTV, Shayan F Rahman, Principal of Beximco Pharmaceuticals, said, "We at Beximco have been able to guarantee that once the vaccine is globally registered, Bangladesh will be one of the first countries to use it."
Rahman added, "It is a sign of the depth of relationship not just between Serum India and Beximco, but also between the two countries."
Rahman and SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said in a joint statement, "This landmark agreement reflects the deep-rooted desire for collaboration between the two countries and as representatives of the two nations, we can go a long way towards helping to mitigate the health crisis..."
Earlier this month, India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla had met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka.
Shringla had said, "India produces 60% of the world's vaccines. When the vaccine is produced, it goes without saying that our closest neighbors, friends, partners, and other countries will be part of that."
Separately, Bangladesh has also approved the late-stage trials of China's Sinovac Biotech's vaccine candidate.
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