Bangladesh’s Orion Pharma contacts Russia to produce COVID vaccine

Bangladeshi drugmaker Orion Pharma Ltd has reached out to Russia to manufacture the coronavirus vaccine in the country.

The company disclosed the development on the Dhaka Stock Exchange on Wednesday, saying it has approached the Russian Direct Investment Fund or RDIF to transfer the technology to produce the vaccine at Orion’s plant.

RDIF is a government agency that looks after foreign investments made in Russian companies.

Orion Pharma said it communicated with the Directorate General of Drug Administration over the proposal on May 2 and disclosed the matter to the Health Division on Tuesday.

The company said its communication with RDIF was at the preliminary stage.

Other drug manufacturers could send proposals in the same manner, but the Bangladesh government and Russia will determine which company would finally produce the drugs.

Russia has offered Bangladesh joint production of its Sputnik-V vaccine, but the government will first buy some doses, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had said earlier.

The price of each unit of Orion Pharma went up following the disclosure. On Tuesday, its share was worth Tk 46.80, which climbed to Tk 51.40 on Wednesday.

Enlisted on the capital market in 2013, Orion Pharma shares are traded under category ‘A’.

The company has been making profits in the past few years. In 2020, its profit was Tk 665.6 million.

The company has 234 million shares in the capital market. The directors own 31.98 percent of them while 39.8 percent belong to institutional investors. Overseas investors account for 1.14 percent of the shares while general investors make up 27.08 percent of them.

The company currently has Tk 10.95 billion invested in the market. Its paid-up capital amounts to Tk 2.34 billion while its reserves stand at Tk 7.55 billion.