It was never Mahima Datla's idea to join her company and take over its operations. All she wanted to do was work in it to gain some experience, so it looks good on her resume. When she joined her company, she saw the efficacy of their company's work and how vaccines produced by them helped the poorest of the nations across the world. This made her realise the importance of her company's efforts, and she immediately got on board. Today, the pharma company has come up with a COVID-19 vaccine called Corbevax that is being manufactured in Hyderabad-based Biological E.
Corbevax, unlike other vaccines, is a 'recombinant protein sub unit'. The SARS-CoV2 virus spike protein unit is allowed to interact with the cells in the human body to generate an immune response. The vaccine contains just the protein unit without the virus and therefore cannot cause any harm to the human body. The development of the vaccine was relatively easy as the vaccine development process used was similar to the one they used for the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Biological E was established during the Swadeshi movement in India in 1948 by Mahima's grandfather GAN Raju, an agriculturist and DVK Raju, a chemistry graduate from the University of Edinburgh. The duo started by manufacturing the Heparin injections that are used to treat blood clots. Then they manufactured DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccines. In 1970, they were also the first makers of drugs for tuberculosis. Incidentally, Biological E predates Serum Institute by four years.
When Mahima joined the company, vaccines contributed 10% of the company's revenue. Then they came up with the Hepatitis B vaccine, and this made India take up a worldwide immunisation programme for Hepatitis B. Today, vaccines make for 80% of the company's revenue. Biological E is the first pharma company that supplies several essential, life-saving vaccines and medicines to global markets.
In November 2020, they started trials for Corbevax; after completing two stages of clinical trials, they received approval from Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to begin third phase trials.
The government has recently announced that they are satisfied with the data provided by Biological E and that Corbevax will be available for the public from September 2021.