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Alumna at forefront of COVID-19 vaccine

K Mazumdar-ShawFederation University alumna and Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited, Asia’s leading biopharmaceuticals enterprise, Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, says there will be a coronavirus vaccine within the year as the company's drug, Itolizumab is approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use on moderate to severe COVID-19 patients.

Itolizumab is the first novel biologic therapy to be approved anywhere in the world for treating patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 complications. Biocon has repurposed Itolizumab, previously used to treat chronic plaque psoriasis, for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and the drug will be manufactured and formulated as an intravenous injection at Biocon’s bio-manufacturing facility in Bengaluru, India.

The DCGI's approval of Itolizumab is based on results from the successful randomised, controlled clinical trial at multiple hospitals in Mumbai and New Delhi.

Dr Mazumdar-Shaw, said: “I am proud of the successful outcome of the pivotal study we conducted with our novel immuno-modulating anti-CD6 monoclonal antibody, Itolizumab, which has proven to be an efficacious intervention in treating the serious hyper immune response seen with COVID-19. The data is compelling and I am confident that this ‘first-in-class’ biologic will save lives and help reduce the mortality rate in our country. 

“This positions India amongst the leading global innovators in their effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. The randomised control trial indicated that all the patients treated with Itolizumab responded positively and recovered. The control arm that did not receive Itolizumab unfortunately had deaths. Itolizumab is now approved for the treatment of CRS in patients with moderate to severe ARDS due to COVID-19. We plan to take this therapy to other parts of the world impacted by the pandemic."

Dr Mazumdar-Shaw graduated from the Ballarat College of Advanced Education in 1975 as a Master Brewer with a Graduate Diploma in Malting and Brewing. She also received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University in 2004 in recognition of her pre-eminent contribution to the field of biotechnology. Read more.

India currently has more than 283,400* documented active coronavirus infections and over 22,100* deaths.