December 17, 2021, Kirov. Nanolek, a biopharmaceutical company, has begun production of the CoviVac vaccine, which was developed by specialists at the Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune-and-Biological Products of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This is the first collaborative project implemented between two future Biopolis special economic zone residents.
On December 17, the Nanolek plant in the Kirov region officially began production of CoviVac, a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chumakov Center. The event was attended by Igor Vasiliev, Governor of the Kirov region, Aidar Ishmukhametov, CEO of the Chumakov Center, and Vladimir Khristenko, President of Nanolek. Previously, CoviVac was manufactured at one location only: the Chumakov Center in Moscow. Since it was modernized in the fall of 2021, the Center has been able to increase production volumes by 2-2.5 times and achieve a monthly capacity utilization of one million doses.
Nanolek and the Chumakov Center began their collaboration back in 2019 with the establishment of a joint venture. Nanolek is the only manufacturer in Russia to produce an inactivated polio vaccine in a ready-to-use formulation, while the Chumakov Center developed oral polio vaccines and pioneered the development of one of the world’s first inactivated polio vaccines using Sabin strains. The decision to team up made sense. In 2021, the partnership continued with the project to establish a second CoviVac production site in the Russian Federation: a line for the production of inactivated vaccine was already in place at the plant in the Kirov region. Additional equipment and a technology transfer were required for the production of CoviVac vaccines.
Nanolek became a project partner in the spring of 2021. The Nanolek plant began transferring technology in the summer and although a production transfer of this size takes normally at least a year, the company completed it in just four months.
In 2021, Nanolek invested 40 million rubles in the CoviVac project. According to the company, this project is a social venture. Indeed, the specified prices and labor intensity of production do not allow recouping of funds invested. A total of 250 thousand doses will be produced by the end of 2021 and delivered to the Chumakov Center, which is both the vaccine’s developer and its customer. Now that the production of CoviVac has started, Nanolek is prepared to produce 10 million doses per year. Thus, if there is a need for additional bottling capacity in Russia or if export production of this vaccine becomes feasible, the company can promptly render necessary assistance.
The launch of CoviVac vaccine production at the Kirov region plant is the first collaborative effort between the Chumakov Center and Nanolek, two future residents of the Biopolis special economic development zone. In November 2021, Governor of the Kirov Region Igor Vasiliev announced details of the Biopolis development roadmap.
Biopolis is a large-scale federal project that is part of Russia’s efforts to build a sanitary shield. It is anticipated that within ten years schools with a biotechnological focus and a scientific and educational center will be built in the village of Levintsy (Kirov region), the nearest settlement to the Nanolek plant. It is also planned to “set up” in Levintsy 10+ resident companies with a focus on biotechnology and ESG. For example, the construction of a branch of the Chumakov Center specializing in the development of vaccines is scheduled to be launched in 2024.
An official agreement was signed on December 17, 2021 between Nanolek, Biopolis’ anchor resident, and Kirov region Governor Igor Vasiliev. During the signing ceremony, Nanolek President Vladimir Khristenko stated that the company had already begun developing the project’s marketing concept in collaboration with a team of Marketing and Brand Management students fr om the British Higher School of Art & Design (Moscow).
Igor Vasiliev, Governor of the Kirov region:
“This is a landmark event for the region and our residents. The production of vaccines everybody is in need of and the maintenance of a healthy population are essential for the well-being, stability, and future development of the region. This is not the first time the Chumakov Center and the Kirov region have worked closely together: last year, we collaborated on a successful study of the first coronavirus vaccine. This progression is also linked to “disruptive projects” being unrolled in the region. One of these projects is the creation of a special economic zone, wh ere Nanolek will be the anchor investor.
Following in the footsteps of Tatarstan Innopolis, it is planned to build a Biopolis city in Levintsy complete with all social and educational infrastructure, including schools and kindergartens, polyclinics, employee housing, and possibly a university campus. Funds will be raised from private investors as well as federal and regional budgets to bring the project to fruition. The application to establish a special economic zone is scheduled for submission early next year.”
Vladimir Khristenko, President of Nanolek Biopharmaceutical Company:
“It is easy to see from the numbers that Nanolek’s production of CoviVac is primarily a social project. We put our money in it without having an approved return on investment plan in place. We did so because pharmaceutical companies must respond quickly and do their best to preserve people’s lives and health during the pandemic. Joint projects with the Chumakov Center, as a future resident of the Biopolis special economic development zone, are particularly important to our company. Nanolek will become the backbone company of Biopolis, a city of scientists based on the village of Levintsy, which is the closest settlement to our plant in the Kirov region. Strong, like-minded partners are especially appealing to us. Indeed, you can’t create a sanitary shield for the country and build an entirely new city alone, without support.”
Aidar Ishmukhametov, General Director of the Chumakov Center:
“Launch of production of a safe and effective CoviVac vaccines in the Kirov region with our partners is truly important to us. We produced 6 million doses of CoviVac vaccines in 2021, and expect to release and distribute 20 million doses across the domestic market in 2022. All these doses will be in high demand in Russia.”
Andrey Purtov, Head of the Marketing and Brand Management course of the British Higher School of Art & Design:
“The development of a marketing strategy for the world-class Biopolis special economic zone is the name of the project that one of the teams of the Marketing and Brand Management course is currently working on. Regional projects have a diverse range of target audiences: local residents, tourists, businesses, investors, the academic community, and government officials – each of whom requires a unique value proposition and a distinct territorial brand. This is the reason why they are among the most challenging projects. We already have experience working with a variety of Russian territories through the Marketing and Brand Management course — Kazan, Krasnodar, Murmansk region, Zvenigorod, Yakutia, Kamchatka, Penza, and Altai. However, we will work for the first time on a special economic zone project that is destined to become a small city. I would like to point out that this project is non-for-profit for Nanolek because it was chosen and integrated into the educational process of the British Higher School of Art & Design’s Marketing and Brand Management course.”
Nanolek: a modern biopharmaceutical company founded in 2011 by Vladimir Khristenko and Mikhail Nekrasov. The company focuses on the production of import-substituting and innovative medicines, both proprietary and those co-developed with international partners. One of the market leaders in the production of pediatric vaccines in Russia. In addition to vaccines, the company’s product portfolio includes medicines for the treatment of HIV, cancer, and orphan diseases.
Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune-and-Biological Products of the Russian Academy of Sciences: established on the premises of the Institute of Polio and Viral Encephalitis of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR. The founder and the first director of the Institute was Academician of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences Mikhail Chumakov. The Chumakov Center is one of the world’s leading scientific institutions in medical virology, including in the study of polio and other enterovirus infections, tick-borne encephalitis, coronavirus and viral hepatitises. The Center has its own biotechnological vaccine manufacturing facility for the immunization schedule.
British Higher School of Design: a non-governmental educational private institution offering higher education in art, design, business and marketing, established in 2003. The British Higher School of Art & Design is part of Universal University, an educational institution that shapes the prospects of creative industries, fosters a new expert community and gives people a wide range of opportunities for both personal and professional growth throughout their lives.