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Serum Institute leads cross-sector Indian investments into UK

London: The Serum Institute of India will invest 240 million pounds in the UK to expand its vaccine business and set up a new sales office creating a large number of jobs, Downing Street announced as part of plans for a 1-billion pound India-UK Enhanced Trade Partnership creating around 6,500 jobs in Britain.

The announcement came ahead of a virtual summit between Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi on Tuesday. The Pune-based vaccine manufacturer headed by CEO Adar Poonawalla is among a list of nearly 20 Indian companies across sectors such as healthcare, biotech and software services to announce significant investment plans in the UK this week. It was also revealed that the Serum Institute of India (SII) has started phase one trials in the UK of a nasal vaccine against Coronavirus.

"The sales office is expected to generate new business worth over USD 1 billion, 200 million pounds of which will be invested into the UK," Downing Street said in reference to the company's plans for the UK market on Monday.

"Serum's investment will support clinical trials, research & development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines. This will help the UK and the world to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases. Serum has already started phase one trials in the UK of a one-dose nasal vaccine for coronavirus, in partnership with Codagenix INC," it said.

Poonawalla, who is currently in London and had recently hinted at plans to expand vaccine production outside India, described his meetings in the UK as "excellent". "We shall work even harder and strengthen India's fight against COVID-19, he said on Twitter.

In the field of healthcare, another Indian investment highlight includes 59 million pounds by biotech firm Global Gene Corp over the next five years. It will create 110 highly skilled jobs in the UK, mostly based in the R&D centre at Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge, which is the site of the Human Genome Project.

"I'm very pleased that Global Gene Corp has decided to join the legions of Indian companies investing in the UK, boosting our healthcare sector and driving economic growth, Prime Minister Johnson said in a statement.

Sumit Jamuar, Chairman & CEO of Global Gene Corp, said the ambition with the investment is to make an "exponential leap" into the healthcare of the future through genomics from discovering the next generation of drugs to precision medicine a task "even more critical" in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK is at the forefront of the genomics revolution with her Genome UK strategy. We are delighted to be investing in cutting-edge capabilities at the intersection of genomics and machine learning to achieve our vision, he said.

"In line with Prime Minister Modi's vision of Ayushmaan Bharat and National Healthcare Mission, we truly believe that the genomic revolution will have an impact on the lives of billions. Global Gene Corp will make this revolution a reality," added Invest India CEO Deepak Bagla.

Other Indian investments announced on Monday include Q-Rich Creations at 54 million pounds, creating 667 UK jobs; Wipro at 16 million pounds, creating 500 jobs; I2 Agro at 30 million pounds, creating 465 jobs; Mastek creating 357 jobs; and Sterlite Technologies at 15 million pounds, creating 150 jobs.

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