15.06.2020 Publication

Hit Hard by Coronavirus, Russia Joins Global Race for a Vaccine

When a vaccine is ultimately approved, Russian companies such as BIOCAD, a private biotech company based in St. Petersburg that is working with several vaccine developers, are expected to be at the forefront of manufacturing it. 

The firm has pulled scientists from other projects to devote some 15% of its workforce on three vaccine candidates. It says it has invested around $40 million in the work and describes itself as an industrial partner for the research teams, helping with clinical trials and, later, with manufacturing an expected more than 6 million doses initially.

“We are working hand in hand with research centers and the regulators, everything is going as fast as possible,” said Dmitry Morozov, BIOCAD’s chief executive, in an interview. To speed up the process, the company has been continually sending research data results to regulators, rather than in one big batch at the end of the trials. 

Still, some Russian scientists and officials have urged caution, saying that until the results of the human trials are out, the battle isn’t won. 

“The announced timelines are someone’s hope, but it seems to me that it’s too early to be hopeful today,” Anna Popova, the head of the consumer health regulator, Rospotrebnadzor, said last week.