Mumbai-based firm VAV Life Sciences is expanding its mRNA lipids manufacturing capacity 10-fold by June 2022. It will then account for 40 percent of the total global capacity for m-RNA lipids, a critical component that goes into making mRNA vaccines and also various mRNA tech based therapeutic products which lends permeability and stability to the biologic product.
Apart from VAV, there are only three more companies in the world who make mRNA lipids. US-based Avanti Polar Lipids, Germany’s Lipoid and Japan’s NOF Corporation and VAV together now make 1,000 kg a year. However, the projected demand for mRNA lipids would be 2,500 kg per year by 2025-26.
VAV Life Sciences is investing Rs 15 crore (through its subsidiary VAV Lipids) or so to expand the capacity at the Ratnagiri plant overall by 6 times. Of this, the mRNA lipids capacity for vaccines would be expanded by 10 times the current production to 1,500 kg a year. The company makes 30-40 types of other lipids too, some of which are nutritional.
“This is in preparation for the future. At present, mRNA products are only vaccines, and there are no commercially approved products based on the mRNA platform technology. However, we expect a rise in demand for mRNA lipids in the future,” Arun Kedia, Managing Director VAV said. This would not only be sufficient for the Indian requirement, but also cater to 40 per cent of the global demand, Kedia said, adding that they target to be the largest mRNA lipids company in the world. Going forward, Kedia plans to have plants in Europe to be closer to their customers. VAV exports almost 80 per cent of its products primarily to North America, Europe, and Asia.
He said that since the past five years or so, they have been supplying the mRNA lipids to several companies, however, that was primarily for research purposes.
VAV is the only Indian and fourth global producer of highly purified lipids that are approved for use in novel drug delivery systems (NDDS).
The new capacity which would be operational from June 2022 will boost VAV’s sales by about 3.5 times to reach RS 45 crore ($6 million) by 2023.
According to the company, the project is funded by internal accruals and EXIM-bank debt. Kedia, who is a chemical engineer by training, has bootstrapped the start-up so far, and has no external investor on board. “Our growth has been organic funded by internal accruals,” he said.
VAV Lifesciences Private Limited is a nanotechnology research-based biopharmaceuticals manufacturing company. The company produces ingredients used in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and healthcare and personal care industries. VAV’s product portfolio includes plant phospholipids (LECIVA), Animal phospholipids (LIPOVA), synthetic phospholipids, and neutral lipids. The other products include APIs and specialty proteins.