RDIF, Sistema and the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology agree on production of Russia's first coronavirus vaccine

Press release, 10.06.2020
  • Russia’s first coronavirus vaccine has demonstrated successful results in preclinical trials
  • First clinical trials of the vaccine to begin in mid-June 2020.
  • Launch of mass production of the vaccine expected by autumn 2020.

Moscow, June 10, 2020 - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, Sistema PJSFC and the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology have agreed to cooperate to organise a production site at the Alium plant in Zelenograd in the Moscow region, for the large-scale production of the first vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus infection in Russia.

A distinctive characteristic of the vaccine is its ability to reduce the time taken for the development of immunity to the virus. According to the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the first vaccination leads to humoral cellular immunity, and after the second one, memory cells are formed – one of the key features of a vaccine. The first clinical trials of the vaccine are expected to begin in mid-June 2020. The launch of mass production of the vaccine is anticipated by autumn 2020.

The Alium holding was established in October 2019 as a result of a merger between the pharmaceutical companies Obolenskoe and Binnopharm. Following the merger, Alium is among Russian’s top-10 pharmaceutical companies.

The Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology completed preclinical studies of an experimental sample of a vaccine against coronavirus and was one of the first to do so, not only in Russia but globally. The results of preclinical studies on monkeys and hamsters confirm the effectiveness and safety of the drug.

In 2015-2019, the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology created an effective vaccine against the Ebola virus, as well as a vaccine against the MERS virus (the Middle East respiratory syndrome).

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said:

“Creating an effective vaccine against coronavirus infection is one of the priorities in the fight against the virus. The Russian research base for vaccine development is one of the best globally, and we expect that the Russian vaccine will be one of the first in the world ready to be used. RDIF alongside Sistema and the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology are actively working on one of the most promising coronavirus vaccines in the world. Following the completion of clinical trials of the vaccine, RDIF and Alium are ready to launch mass-production for the fastest possible vaccination of Russian citizens. This continues the series of RDIF investments in production of drugs for the treatment of any form of coronavirus infection: mild, moderate and severe.”

Vladimir Chirakhov, President of Sistema PJSFC, said:

“From the first days of the epidemic, Sistema has been on the forefront of the coronavirus fight. Our portfolio assets evolved into something of an "umbrella" giving the nation full-cycle protection from the virus. For example, Medsi Otradnoye has been repurposed into an infectious disease hospital. Sistema BioTech moved fast to develop two diagnostic kits to test for COVID-19. Other assets produce personal protection equipment, while the pharmaceutical manufacturers Alium and Sintez provide Russians with affordable medications to treat COVID-19 and its comorbidities. Producing a coronavirus vaccine is yet another step for Sistema. Our production plant in Zelenograd is poised to start preparing for the production of a pilot batch of a vaccine developed by the National Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology, an initiative backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund. If successful, the project will serve to fast-track the vaccination of at-risk groups.”

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Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia's sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management company is based in Moscow. Currently, RDIF has experience of the successful joint implementation of more than 80 projects with foreign partners totaling more than RUB1.8 tn and covering 95% of the regions of the Russian Federation. RDIF portfolio companies employ more than 800,000 people and generate revenues which equate to more than 6% of Russia’s GDP. RDIF has established joint strategic partnerships with leading international co-investors from more than 15 countries that total more than $40 bn.

RDIF brings together the best Russian and international technologies in the fight against COVID-19::

  • RDIF and partners have launched the production of the unique Russian-Japanese EMG diagnostic system, which generates results in 30 minutes with a very high accuracy in both stationary and unmatched portable mini-laboratories. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has joined the project through the Russia-Japan Investment Fund;
  • RDIF and the ChemRar Group have started the mass-scale production of Avifavir, which has proven effective against coronavirus in clinical trials has become the first in Russia and of the first special drugs in the world for coronavirus therapy;
  • RDIF has launched a project to diagnose and detect pneumonia, including that caused by coronavirus, using CT scans combined with the Russian-UAE artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed jointly by Group 42 (G42), RDIF and Medscan Group;
  • RDIF has provided support to the public in observing the lockdown restrictions and self-isolation regime, driving a several-fold increase in telemedicine consultations via the Doctis service, as well as in access and subscriptions to the ivi online media library, delivery of Elementaree meal kits and demand for products and services of other RDIF portfolio companies;;
  • The Mother and Child Group, an RDIF's portfolio company, has repurposed its largest clinical hospital Lapino to treat patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • RDIF was one of the initiators of the Alliance against coronavirus, which also includes the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), Yandex, Mail.ru Group and the Rossiya Segodnya international news agency. RDIF is actively involved in key initiatives and charity projects.

Further information can be found at www.rdif.ru

Sistema PJSFC is a Russian publicly-traded diversified holding company serving over 150 million customers in the sectors of telecommunications, high technology, banking, retail, timber processing, agriculture, real estate, tourism and healthcare services. The company was founded in 1993. Its revenue in 2019 reached RUB 656.9bn; its total assets equalled RUB 1.3tn as of 31 December 2019. Sistema's global depositary receipts are listed under the “SSA” ticker on the London Stock Exchange. Sistema’s ordinary shares are listed under the “AFKS” ticker on Moscow Exchange.

Further information can be found at www.sistema.com

For additional information contact:
Arseniy Palagin
Russian Direct Investment Fund

Press Secretary
Tel: +7 495 644 34 14, ext. 2395
Mobile: +7 916 110 31 41
E-mail: arseniy.palagin@rdif.ru

Andrew Leach / Maria Shiryaevskaya
Hudson Sandler

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133