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Unable to sell Sputnik Light stock, Stelis Biopharma asks PM Modi for jabs

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New Delhi, May 14 Unable to sell its huge stock of Covid Sputnik Light vaccine, Bengaluru-based Stelis Biopharma has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the purchase of shots to inoculate citizens in India or supply to others countries under the Vaccine Maitri program.

Stelis Biopharma, the biopharmaceutical arm of Strides Pharma Science, said it could not sell 2.5 crore units of the single-dose vaccine manufactured by it due to several constraints following the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had granted emergency use authorization to Sputnik Light, subject to certain regulatory provisions, in February this year. However, it is currently not administered in India.

In the letter written on May 13, Arun Kumar, founder and director of Stelis Biopharma Limited, said that after the Prime Minister asked the industry to prepare to fight the pandemic, the company invested more than 700 crore to set up a state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing plant within six months, despite various Covid-19-induced restrictions and quickly started production of Sputnik Light. The company has also received government approval to produce and export the jabs.

“We are proud to say that after securing the necessary approvals from the Government of India, we have started manufacturing Sputnik Light in India and produced no less than 2.5 crore doses of vaccine. However, due to several constraints related to Russia, these vaccines are lying unsold to us right now,” Kumar said.

Kumar asked the government to acquire the available doses or else the doses will be wasted and the company will suffer a huge financial loss. “We are calling on the Indian government to procure our readily available vaccine and either administer it to the people of India or donate it to other countries under the India Aid/Covid Maitri scheme,” he said.

Sputnik Light is a single-dose vaccine and is identical to component 1 of Sputnik V. As of March 2021, Stelis had partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, to produce and supply the vaccine.

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May 14, 2022

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