Sinovac Biotech’s subsidiary Sinovac Life Sciences (Sinovac LS) has secured approximately $500m in funding for further development, capacity expansion and manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CoronaVac.

The company will use the funds to carry out other development and operational activities.

China’s research and development-driven pharmaceutical company Sino Biopharmaceutical, through affiliates, made the investment in exchange for around 15% of the total equity interest of Sinovac LS.

Earlier, Advantech Capital and Vivo Capital exercised their rights to convert their loan into 7.5% of the total equity interests of Sinovac LS.

With the latest funding, the investment now represents about 6.3% stake in the company.

Sinovac chairman, president and CEO Weidong Yin said: “We have made significant progress in the development of our Covid-19 vaccine candidate CoronaVac, which has reached critical milestones in clinical trials in Asia and Latin America.

“In addition to funding the CoronaVac, this new strategic partnership with Sino Biopharmaceutical Limited further enables us to improve our vaccine sales capabilities, expand in Asia markets, develop and access new technologies, and most importantly, accelerate our efforts to help combat the global pandemic.”

At present, Phase III trials of the vaccine candidate received approval in Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Chile.

In Phase I / II trials conducted in China, results showed that CoronaVac can induce neutralising antibodies among over 90% of volunteers who were given two vaccine doses in adults, as well as the elderly.

Last month, Sinovac Biotech reported preliminary results from a Phase I / II trial that showed CoronaVac triggered a quick immune response in healthy adults aged 18-59 years.

The company plans to manufacture 300 million doses yearly.

SinoVac anticipates completing the construction of a second production facility by the end of this year to boost the annual production capacity of CoronaVac to 600 million doses.