• 14 June 2010
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Vaccine leader takes on swine flu

Serum Institute is the first company in India approached by the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop and manufacture the H1N1 vaccine to fight the swine flu pandemic

Serum Institute
of India

Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla, Chairman

Manufacturing and marketing of life-saving immunologicals

Startup Year:

212/2, Hadapsar, Off Soli Poonawalla Road, Pune- 411028, Maharashtra



Serum Institute of India clocked a total sales revenue of Rs 850 crore in FY 2009-10 according to BioSpectrum estimates. Last year, the company was in the news for being the first company in India approached by the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop and manufacture the H1N1 vaccine to fight the swine flu pandemic. As of now, official reports claim that the indigenously produced vaccine has entered its final trials. The vaccine has proven to be safe and the mass production license is likely to be given in mid-June 2010. Clinical trials of the nasal form of the vaccine have begun in 330 patients in sites like Gujarat, Kolkata, Indore, Bangalore and Pune.

Unlike other vaccine manufacturers who import the bulk, Serum Institute is the only indigenous manufacturer of HIB vaccine in India. HIB vaccine is fully manufactured in India and it is given to infants along with DPT or alone.

Earlier, efforts by the UNICEF for HIB immunization met with little success as the prices were very high, which led to limited access of the vaccine in many poor countries. Serum Institute supplies the HIB vaccine at a lower price. The vaccine is available under the brand name, SiiHIB Pro.

Serum has plans to launch a meningitis vaccine. The vaccine, which has completed phase I, II and II/III trials in Africa and India, will be introduced in Africa in 2010. Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla, chairman of the company, said, “This will be a landmark initiative for us because this is another vaccine which we are developing in collaboration with PATH, especially for African countries and Haaj tourists. We will be the only company in the country for years to come, with such a vaccine.”

This apart, Serum's biopharmaceutical initiative has been rolled out this year, starting with European Patent Office (EPO). The initiative was rolled out three years back. Also, at present, the company is working on novel vaccines and also on NDDS initiatives.

Serum Institute has also got an approval from the US FDA for their oncology facility, the construction of which started in 2006 and which they will be rolling out in a few months time.

Serum had hiked its holding in Panacea Biotec on October 14, 2008 through bulk deal at Rs 220 per share. Part of this equity stake was bought from South Korean asset management firm, Mirae. Serum now has seven percent stake in the New Delhi-based Panacea Biotec. This deal is significant as Serum Institute and Panacea are the top two Indian firms in the vaccine business.

Serum Institute of India has also set up Serum Bio Pharma Park, India's first biotech Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and developments on this project is still in the process. The project is due to be completed by 2012-13. The premises have already been prequalified by the WHO. An investment of Rs 1,200 crore by Serum has been made for the purpose.

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