The Passion to Take Risks Makes COVAXIN Creator Unique Startupstar

The Passion to Take Risks Makes COVAXIN Creator Unique Startupstar

Dr Krishna Ella, is scientist at heart. He breathes science and his vision for Bharat Biotech is to make India the world’s leading innovator of vaccines and the hub for vaccine manufacturing. From a startup in 1996 he built his company Bharat Biotech to become a world leading vaccine innovator.

Today, Bharat Biotech has established an excellent track record of innovation with more than 145 global patents, a wide product portfolio of more than 16 vaccines, 4 bio-therapeutics, registrations in more than 123 countries, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Pre-qualifications.

  • – COVAXIN Creator Dr. Krishna Ella returned from the US only to work for his country, and make India self-reliant in vaccine development.
  • – He has invested his fortunes and committed his life to build this company and is obsessed towards scientific advancement.’
  • – He is the man behind India Genome Valley
  • – He believes India will lead the world in Innovation
  • – He believed Public-Private Partnership is the best model to advance science in India
  • – He believes strongly startup in science has a great potential to grow in India
  • – He built India’s first indigenous covid-19 vaccine COVAXIN – which WHO Pre-qualified and is approved for adults and Kids in India

Over the past 25 years he worked relentlessly as its co-founder, Chairman and Managing Director to achieve one milestone after another and today his company’s COVAXIN contribution to the world has put him in the spotlight.

Today, the only child vaccine for COVID currently administered in India is COVAXIN, the adult vaccine has been already approved for Emergency Use in India and by WHO for the world for the adult population. A visionary, Dr. Krishna Ella believed in India’s preparedness to fight unforeseen pandemic led him to build highest Bio-Safety level 3 facility in India which helped him to develop, manufacture vaccine for the highly virulent Coronavirus ( COVID-19).

“During the wee hours of January 13, 2021, the first truck of Covaxin rolled out from the Bharat Biotech facility in Genome Valley, Hyderabad, and was successfully air-shipped to 11 cities in India, proving the naysayers wrong that India could not produce an indigenous, safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccine. Phase III trials of Bharat Biotech’s intranasal COVID-19 vaccine is expected to commence this year. This is a non-invasive, needle-free, easy to administer vaccine, suitable for kids and adults. It is also very easy to scale the production to meet the global demand. Nasal vaccine can also be used as a booster dose against variants of concern.”

Dr. T. Jacob John —a paediatrician and renowned virologist who set up the clinical virology department in Christian Medical College, Vellore, in the late ’60s—saw something that took him by surprise: a bio-safety level 3, or BSL-3, facility. Surprising because while BBIL was making 16 different vaccines, including six for viral diseases, none of them were so deadly as to require such a state-of-the-art safety facility.

If you travel back to the company’history, the company developed world-class vaccines such as Hepatitis vaccine, Rotavac Vaccine, and Typbar TCV. Then there was the H1N1 vaccine (in 2010), a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis (2014), and the Rotavirus vaccine (2015). This company has a tremendous history of being focussed on neglected diseases on the research and development (R&D) side of biotechnology.

BBIL’s typhoid vaccine, Typbar TCV, is considered as a significant milestone in eradicating typhoid given its efficacy rate of 82%, higher than other typhoid vaccines. Typbar TCV® is the first typhoid vaccine, clinically proven to be administered to children from 6 months of age to adults and confers long term protection against typhoid fever.

Bharat Biotech‘s ROTAVAC which is now administered under India’s its national immunisation program since 2016, has delivered several millions of doses. It’s vaccine has also been in the forefront of Polio program.

From Hepatitis Vaccine to COVAXIN Creator and more… – The Journey of Dr. Krishna Ella

Bharat Biotech Vaccine Research, Development and Manufacturing facility at Genome Valley, It has facilities in Bangalore, Pune, and Ankaleshwar

After 12 years in the U.S., it was Suchitra, an economics graduate, who had to convince Krishna to return home to start BBIL. Krishna handled the scientific and technological aspects, while Suchitra worked to get the company off the ground with a capital of ₹12.5 crore—from scouring land, writing letters to the governments, and even getting utility connections

Hailing from a family of farmers from a village in Thiruthani, Tamil Nadu, Dr Ella had studied agriculture after finishing school.

‘After school, I decided to study agriculture which my father didn’t approve of. He felt nobody became a farmer just by studying agriculture! But I got so interested in the subject and wanted to be a farmer,’ Dr Ella had said then.

He worked briefly with Bayer in its agricultural division before moving to the US with a scholarship.

It is in the US that he studied molecular biology, a decision that would change his life.

He returned to India in 1996 and started Bharat Biotech with his own savings, a loan from IDBI Bank and contributions from the Technology Development Board.

Dr Ella says the inspiration behind his entreprenuership was his mother and his wife who encouraged him to take risks.

He famous quote, is what his mother told him, ‘Son, you only have a nine-inch stomach and however much money you make, you can’t eat more than that. You come back and do whatever you want; I will see to it that you get food! As long as I am alive, you will not starve.’

This encouraged Dr Ella to take risks and the Hepatitis B vaccine was born.

It was launched by future President A P J Abdul Kalam in 1999.

The company has maintained a track record of coming out with a vaccine every three to four years.

It has over 160 global patents and is working on at least three candidates for the coronaviruses, including an intra-nasal vaccine.

COVAXIN for Children – India Begins to vaccinate 15-18 years children today

Bharat Biotech‘s Covaxin is poised to export its vaccine to several countries this year, with the WHO and 20 countries granting emergency use listing/authorisation. Further, the process of getting regulatory approvals in 60+ countries is currently underway. Covaxin as a booster dose for adults and for children between two and 18 years is also being actively evaluated by many nations.

Bharat Biotech has established an excellent track record of innovation with more than 145 global patents, a wide product portfolio of more than 16 vaccines, 4 bio-therapeutics, registrations in more than 123 countries, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Pre-qualifications.

 Located in Genome Valley in Hyderabad, India, a hub for the global biotech industry, Bharat Biotech has built a world-class vaccine & bio-therapeutics, research & product development, Bio-Safety Level 3 manufacturing, and vaccine supply and distribution.

Having delivered more than 4 billion doses of vaccines worldwide, Bharat Biotech continues to lead innovation and has developed vaccines for influenza H1N1, Rotavirus, Japanese Encephalitis (JENVAC®), Rabies, Chikungunya, Zika, Cholera, and the world’s first tetanus toxoid conjugated vaccine for Typhoid.

Bharat’s commitment to global social innovation programs and the public-private partnership resulted in introducing path-breaking WHO pre-qualified vaccines BIOPOLIO®, ROTAVAC®, ROTAVAC® 5D, and Typbar TCV® combatting polio, rotavirus, typhoid infections, respectively. The acquisition of Chiron Behring Vaccines has positioned Bharat Biotech as the world’s largest rabies vaccine manufacturer with Chirorab® and Indirab®.

Bharat Biotech has established COVAXIN® manufacturing to reach an annualized capacity of 1 billion doses by the end of 2021. Technology transfer activities are in progress to companies in India, United States and other countries.