RDIF and R-Pharm Group join forces to fight coronavirus and produce Russia’s first vaccine

Press release, 10.06.2020

Moscow, June 10, 2020 - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, and the R-Pharm Group today announce a partnership as part of joint efforts to combat coronavirus infection and produce the first Russian vaccine with high export potential.

To implement the comprehensive partnership, RDIF and R-Pharm have agreed to create a joint venture (JV) with an investment of more than RUB4 billion. The JV will focus on a number of areas, including:

  • Scaling up the production of drug Artlegia (olokizumab) used in therapy for a cytokine storm (excessive response of the immune system) in patients with moderate coronavirus infection. On May 21, 2020, the R-Pharm Group completed the registration process for Artlegia to be used for rheumatoid arthritis, and on June 3, 2020, the drug was included in the guidelines of the Ministry of Health of Russia for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of novel coronavirus infection;
  • Production of the unique, first Russian vaccine for coronavirus infection, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation;
  • Development and production of other promising biotech drugs and vaccines against coronavirus.

As part of the joint venture, a modern biotechnological production facility will be constructed in Yaroslavl to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosage forms. There will also be potential to export products to the Middle East and other countries in the future.

The drug is currently manufactured and labeled at the production facility of the R-Pharm Group in Yaroslavl. To date, more than 12,000 packages marked with a Data Matrix digital code have been licensed for circulation.

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

“RDIF is focused on a comprehensive search for effective anti-coronavirus products. Earlier, RDIF and the ChemRar Group have launched the production of Avifavir, one of the two coronavirus drugs registered in the world and the first drug in the world that is based on Favipiravir, which has been approved for the treatment of coronavirus.

As part of the joint venture with the R-Pharm Group we plan to focus our efforts on another area of coronavirus infection therapy and support the domestic creation of a vaccine, as well as expanding the production of Artlegia. We believe it is important to maximize the range of tools available for doctors to treat patients with coronavirus infection and mitigate its negative effects.”

Alexey Repik, Chairman of the Board of R-Pharm Group, said:

“Our partnership with RDIF is a vital part of R-Pharm’s comprehensive strategy to combat COVID-19. The medicine that we have developed has already been included in the recommendations of Russia’s Ministry of Health and has become one of the key tools for the treatment of complications from coronavirus infection. This is the first original Russian biotechnological drug to prevent a cytokine storm - olokizumab. Together with the RDIF, we intend to scale up its production and provide patients with the drug not only in Russia, but also abroad. Our program also includes clinical studies of the original RPH-104 molecule - the IL-1 blocker, and these are joint trials with olokizumab. Another biotechnological molecule RPH-137, the so-called “virus trap”, should make a significant contribution to the elimination of the virus.

The development of a vaccine is another area of our work and a very ambitious project. The vaccine being developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology seems to be the most promising Russian vaccine in many respects. We expect that after the development is completed, the vaccine will be produced at R-Pharm’s new plant in Yaroslavl, which we will open together with RDIF.”


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; EMG systems were used by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation during its mission in Italy’s Bergamo and as part of efforts to help the Republic of Dagestan in the fight against coronavirus;
  • 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 rdif.ru

R-Pharm Group offers comprehensive solutions for the healthcare system and focuses on research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of pharmaceuticals, laboratory equipment and medical devices. R-Pharm's mission is to increase the accessibility of advanced diagnostics, preventative care and therapy methods in Russia and abroad. More than 3,000 employees of the Group in 70 branches across 30 countries strive to provide as many people as possible with the necessary means to improve and prolong their lives.

R-Pharm is implementing a program of comprehensive measures aimed at combating coronavirus infection:

The project includes both the development of new molecules and therapy methods and the evaluation of the current portfolio of drugs.

  • Artlegia (olokizumab)

The drug blocks interleukin-6 (IL-6), which leads to a cytokine storm and damage to the internal organs of the target, including the lungs, heart and kidneys. Artlegia’s mechanism of action affects this protein in a way that reduces the destructive immune response of the body.

In early April, the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation approved a clinical study of the efficacy and safety of olokizumab (Artlegia). The drug is registered in the Russian Federation and is included in the Interim Guidelines of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of new coronavirus infection COVID-19.

The clinical trials are underway in 17 hospitals in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl and Nizhny Novgorod, including the Sklifosovsky Research Institute of Emergency Medicine, Almazov National Medical Research Center, City Clinical Hospital No. 52 in Moscow, Regional Clinical Hospital for War Veterans – the “Healthy Longevity” International Center for the Problems of the Elderly in Yaroslavl and Volga Research Medical University in Nizhny Novgorod, among others.

  • RPH-104

Clinical trials of another drug from the Company's portfolio - the original RPH-104 - are currently underway to study its efficacy in the treatment of severe COVID-19 cases. The drug is able to block the protein-mediator of inflammation, IL-1, and enhance the effect of olokizumab.

  • RPH-137

R-Pharm is conducting preclinical studies of the biotechnological molecule RPH-137 developed in the Group’s laboratories in Moscow, Russia and San Diego, USA directly to combat COVID-19. The innovative ingredient is able to bind viral particles and prevent their penetration into alveocytes.

  • Radotinib

On May 14, 2020, R-Farm received permission to conduct clinical trials of the drug radotinib in order to study its efficacy in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. At the early stages of trials the drug demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of infections caused by the SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV coronaviruses. At the beginning of 2020, a series of in vitro studies demonstrated that radotinib significantly inhibited the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus 48 hours after the treatment. Clinical studies will be conducted in 11 hospitals in Russia.

  • Favipiravir-TL

On May 20, 2020, Pharmaceutical Technology, part of the R-Pharm Group, began clinical trials of the antiviral drug Favipiravir-TL for safety and efficacy in the treatment of coronavirus infection.

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

Anastacia Khrustaleva
R-Pharm Group

Head of the Press-office
Mobile: +79263706755