marches ahead with new launches
Biotechnics’ commitment to breaking new ground in modern
biotechnology to address critical healthcare needs of the developing
world was further consolidated in 2008-09.
Shantha Biotechnics, which is part of the Merieux Alliance Group,
logged an estimated Rs 250 crore turnover during fiscal year 2008-09 up
from Rs 150 crore the previous year. A pioneer in the field of
biotechnology, Shantha Biotechnics is the first Indian company to
develop, manufacture and market a recombinant human healthcare product
Shantha is currently focusing its R&D efforts on the
development of generic biologicals, novel therapeutic antibodies,
proteins and vaccines. The company conducts exploratory research in the
fields of oncology, infectious diseases and platform technologies.
Shantha Biotechnics has recently launched the oral cholera vaccine,
Shanchol. “The company has spent about Rs 4.72 crore to set
up facilities. Initially 50 lakh doses are planned. It is the first
among more than a dozen vaccine projects which has reached commercial
scale, supported by the Bill Gates Foundation,” stated Dr KI
Varaprasad Reddy, managing director of Shantha.
“The vaccine would be priced at Rs 300 a dose. It would be
commercially available in the country from June 2009. The only other
WHO approved oral cholera vaccine available is Dukoral, a Swedish
vaccine, which costs about Rs 1,885 and is difficult to administer,
especially in public health setting,” Dr Varaprasad Reddy
Shantha Biotechnics has got enquiries from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe for
the supply of bivalent oral cholera vaccine. Supplies are to be routed
through the Gates Foundation. The WHO prequalification would be
obtained in a couple of months.
Shanvac-B is the first Indian hepatitis-B vaccine to be pre-qualified
by WHO, Geneva, for supplying to the UN agencies globally. Today,
Shantha caters to major international markets including Asia Pacific,
Africa, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Latin America in
addition to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and
the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Shantha has also obtained
WHO pre-qualification for its combination vaccine of DPT+ hepatitis-B
vaccine, Shantetra, enabling supplies to the UN agencies. The company
is currently working on therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and pegylated
French healthcare company, Merieux Alliance, has about 60 percent stake
in Shantha Biotechnics. Merieux bought the stake from Oman-based
financial firms, which had invested in Shantha a few years ago. This
alliance favors synergies in terms of research and clinical development
between the group companies. Shantha Biotechnics also has access to the
support provided by Merieux Alliances international network.
The contract research work undertaken so far has been in the areas of
gene cloning, monoclonal antibody development, expression and
purification of recombinant proteins by fermentation, fermentation and
purification process optimization, development of polyclonal
antibodies, development of WCB and MCB and analytical methods.