Sanofi snaps up India's Shantha for $784M

Following rumors that it had dropped out of the race for vaccine maker Shantha Biotechnics, Sanofi-Aventis announced that it will pay €550 million ($784 million) for the Indian company. Sanofi's vaccine division Sanofi-Pasteur, will acquire ShanH, French subsidiary of Merieux Alliance, which holds a majority stake in Hyderabad-based Shantha.

Shantha Biotech develops, manufactures and markets a recombinant human healthcare product in India. It's also developing generic biologicals, therapeutic antibodies, proteins and vaccines in the fields of oncology, infectious diseases and platform technologies. Sales of the company's products are expected to total $90 million this year.

As Bloomberg notes, this buyout is part of CEO Chris Viehbacher's strategy to aggressively grow Sanofi's vaccine business. He has inked four vaccine deals--three in emerging markets--since he became the company's CEO last year. These include a deal for Mexico's generic maker Laboratorios Kendrick, Brazilian generic drug company Medley, and California's BioPar Sciences.

"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," said Viehbacher in a statement, "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." GSK was also said to have considered a bid for Shantha.

- check out Sanofi's release
- here's the Bloomberg report