Sanofi's Viehbacher sees green lights ahead for Shantha

Admitting "a setback" with its Shantha acquisition after the World Health Organization recalled and destroyed the SHAN5 vaccine in May 2010, Sanofi ($SNY) CEO Chris Viehbacher (photo) says he remains "as excited about the strategic importance of Shantha" as ever. His enthusiasm remains high--thanks to the strategic fit of Sanofi's partnerships, he says in MoneyControl.

"There is fantastic plant and equipment, there is great team in place, but we can drop on some of the expertise of Sanofi; pass it to our vaccine companies to really deal with some of the production issues," he said in the story.

And the drugmaker is fighting its way back to meet WHO standards. The body has given a pre-qualification on Shanchol, Sanofi's cholera vaccine, and a tetanus vaccine. Viehbacher said WHO inspectors have reviewed the quality system that underlie SHAN5, and he's confident "the team has really cracked the manufacturing issues and I think we are going to be back manufacturing vaccines for the world out of Shantha very soon," according to the article.

The Shantha vaccine platform provides a means for lowering production costs, "so that these vaccines really become affordable to the masses," he says. "At the same time, we bring the Sanofi quality image."

Sanofi is making $300 million in investments between 2010 and 2012 to strengthen the Shantha platform.*

- here's the interview

* Editor's Note: An earlier version implied that $300 million was to be used for a new facility. We regret the error.