• 6 August 2009
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Sanofi Pasteur acquires Shantha Biotechnics
French company, Sanofi-aventis will acquire Mérieux Alliance’s French subsidiary ShanH, which owns a majority stake in vaccine company Shantha Biotechnics based in Hyderabad. Alain Mérieux, chairman of Merieux Alliance, will chair the board of ShanH and a new joint committee will be created to chalk out vaccine strategy for the emerging markets.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-aventis Group, will support Shantha’s ongoing development to address the need for high quality affordable vaccination in international markets. Dr Varaprasad Reddy, the founder of Shantha Biotechnics, will continue to lead the company as the managing director.
Commenting on the agreement, Christopher A Viehbacher, CEO, Sanofi-aventis, said, “Shantha provides Sanofi Pasteur with a portfolio of new vaccines in development which complement Sanofi Pasteur’s current vaccines portfolio to accelerate its growth in strategically important emerging markets. The state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities allow Sanofi Pasteur to gain high quality capacity and 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 will be chaired by Alain Mérieux.”
Alain Mérieux, chairman, Mérieux Alliance said, “In the last three years, with the support of Shantha’s founder, Dr Varaprasad Reddy, we have significantly developed our company. We have 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 including rotavirus vaccine, conjugated typhoid vaccine and HPV vaccine.”
Shantha works with supranational organizations like UNICEF and PAHO to supply vaccines to  major international markets like Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

Monsanto gets EU approvals for GM Corn  
Monsanto Company announced that experts at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have issued a favorable scientific opinion on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 corn product for cultivation and reconfirmed the safety of its YieldGard insect-protected corn trait.
In its opinion, EFSA confirmed that the product, also known as MON 810, is safe for cultivation, animal feed and human consumption. The in-depth safety review of the YieldGard insect-protected corn borer technology, which protects corn plants from the devastating effects of the European corn borer insect, is required every 10 years. The original review and approval of MON 810 in the European Union occurred in 1998. The extensive scientific review considered all of the new safety studies conducted since then.
Monsanto has also been expanding its seeds and traits portfolio to include wheat with the acquisition of WestBred, a Montana-based company that specializes in wheat germplasm, the crop’s seed genetic material.  The investment will bolster the future growth of Monsanto’s seeds and traits platform and allow farmers to benefit from the company’s experience in drought, disease and pest-tolerance innovations.

Biocon Q1 revenue surges 83% to Rs 505 crore
Biocon has announced its financial performance for the three months ended June 30, 2009. The consolidated revenues  (including German subsidiary, AxiCorp) jumped 83% from Rs 277 crore in FY 2009 to Rs 505 crore in FY 2010.
Financial performance excluding AxiCorp also delivered strong numbers: revenues increased 14% to Rs 316 crore, operating profits grew 45% to Rs 101 crore and PAT jumped 261% to Rs 54 crore. While operating margins (excluding AxiCorp) were sustained at 32%. AxiCorp has delivered good performance in the period under review  registering  a top line of Rs190 crore whilst delivering an operating profit of Rs 11 crore and a PAT of Rs 4 crore.
Syngene and Clinigene continued to grow robustly delivering a 50% growth in revenues to touch Rs 64 crore and a 169% spurt in operating profits (Rs 25 crore).  PAT increased to Rs 7 crore, a 133% growth over the previous year.
Biocon has recently announced a strategic partnership with a global generics pharma company, Mylan, to develop a basket of generic biologics which are expected to deliver the next bolus of high margin growth for the global pharmaceutical generics industry.

Millipore initiates carbon footprint reduction
Millipore Corporation, the company providing technologies, tools and services for bioscience research and biopharmaceutical manufacturing, is in the midst of a  global sustainability initiative, an effort aimed at reducing the company’s environmental impacts and carbon footprint by 20 percent over the next five years.
Millipore’s sustainability initiative encompasses a range of programs focused on reducing the company’s consumption of non-renewable resources, eliminating waste and adopting behavioral changes that support long-term environmental sustainability. Many of these programs are aimed at substantially reducing Millipore’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, a key factor in global climate change.

PerkinElmer’s center of excellence in Hyderabad           
PerkinElmer has announced plans to establish a state-of-the-art BioPharma Center of Excellence in Hyderabad. The center which will be opened  in October, 2009, will be the second high-tech facility recently established by PerkinElmer in India.
The new biopharma center will provide regional PerkinElmer clients and partners in India with access to established and emerging drug discovery, pharmaceutical quality assurance, control applications and technologies, and training facilities and expertise. The Hyderabad facility will also support focused research efforts in screening and profiling technologies.

BD India among 25 best employers in Asia
BD India, a subsidiary of the global medical technology company, Becton Dickinson and Company, has been featured as one of the top 25 best employers in Asia and has also achieved a number12 rank in India according to the Hewitt Associates’ Best Employers 2009 survey. Hewitt Associates, a global human resource consulting and outsourcing firm, determines these annual lists after extensive studies of management practices in leading organizations in India and Asia. BD India is the only firm in the healthcare segment to have been featured in this prestigious listing for India.

ICON acquires Veeda Laboratories
ICON, a provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, has acquired Veeda Laboratories, a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s Veeda Clinical Research Group.
The acquisition adds to ICON Development Solutions’ existing bioanalytical and immunoassay capabilities, which are delivered through its laboratory in Manchester, UK, and Prevalere Life Sciences, the US-based bioanalytical and immunoassay laboratory which ICON acquired in November 2008.

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