Sanofi Pasteur to control Shantha Biotechnics through Mérieux Alliance

Sanofi Pasteur to control Shantha Biotechnics through Mérieux Alliance

Sanofi-Pasteur, the vaccines division of sanofi-aventis Group, has acquired ShanH, French subsidiary of Merieux Alliance, which is holding majority stake in Hyderabad-based Shantha Biotechnics.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi Pasteur will support Shantha's ongoing development as a platform to address the need for high quality affordable vaccination in international markets.

Alain Mérieux will chair the board of ShanH and a new joint committee will be created to be chaired by Alain Mérieux on vaccine strategy for the emerging markets. Dr Varaprasad Reddy, the founder of Shantha Biotechnics in 1993, will continue to lead the company as managing director. The transaction, set to close before the end of the third quarter, values Shantha at 550 million euros. For the current fiscal year, sales of Shantha are expected to be around 90 million US dollars. Sales are expected to grow significantly given the commercial resources of Sanofi Pasteur and through the development and launch of Shantha's pipeline of new vaccines.

Commenting on the agreement, Christopher A Viehbacher, chief executive officer of sanofi-aventis said: "Shantha provides Sanofi Pasteur with a portfolio of new vaccines in development which complement Sanofi Pasteur's current vaccines, positioning the company to accelerate its growth in strategically important emerging markets. The state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities allow Sanofi Pasteur to gain high quality capacity in order to enable us to provide important vaccines at affordable prices to many people around the world. Our commitment to this objective is highlighted by the creation of a new Strategic Committee which I am delighted to announce will be chaired by Alain Mérieux".

This agreement is a tribute to the common heritage of Mérieux Alliance and Sanofi Pasteur, two companies originating from Institute Mérieux, which was founded in 1897 by Marcel Mérieux, a student of Louis Pasteur and Alain Mérieux's grandfather.

Commenting on the agreement, Alain Mérieux, chairman of Mérieux Alliance said: "During the last three years, we have, together with Dr. Varaprasad Reddy, Shantha's founder, significantly developed the company. We have in particular refocused its activity on vaccines and strengthened its range of products, especially by successfully launching a pentavalent pediatric vaccine as well as a Cholera vaccine. We have built up a portfolio of new products which are today in development: Rotavirus vaccine, Conjugated Typhoid vaccine, and HPV vaccine.

This evolution was rolled out respecting Shantha's philosophy to provide developing countries with international quality level products at an accessible price. Shantha's future development necessitates support from a major international vaccine company. This agreement gives me the opportunity to reconnect with Sanofi Pasteur, a company to which I am historically attached. I am also pleased to remain involved -together with Dr. Varaprasad Reddy- in the group's strategy in the domain of preventive medicine and of human vaccines tailored to the countries of the South".

Shantha works with supranational organizations like UNICEF and PAHO to supply major international markets including Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America. In 1997, Shantha launched Shanvac-B, the first recombinant hepatitis B vaccine produced in India. Shanvac-B, Shantetra (combination vaccine of Diphteria, Pertussis, Tetanus and hepatitis B), Shan5 (combination vaccine of Diphteria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Haemophilus influenza B and hepatitis B) and Shantt (Tetanus toxoid vaccine) are pre-qualified by the World Health Organization for supplying to United Nation agencies globally. Shantha also has an important portfolio of vaccines in development.