Sanofi nabs control of Indian vaccine firm

Sanofi-Aventis is putting its finger into yet another emerging markets pie. The French drugmaker forged a deal for control of Shantha Biotechnics, an Indian vaccine maker that boasts manufacturing facilities and several marketed products, as well as "an important portfolio" of in-development shots. The deal values Shantha at €550 million, or $781 million.

Sanofi will end up with 80 percent of Shantha, via a buyout of Merieux Alliance's subsidiary ShanH expected to close before the end of this quarter. In the process, Sanofi gets capacity for vaccine growth in emerging markets and access to some potential new products. The company is setting up a new "strategic committee" to boost Shantha's growth, with plans to grow sales "significantly" from their current level of $90 million annually.

"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," CEO Chris Viehbacher (photo) said in a statement. In other words, it's another foothold in the emerging markets Viehbacher has been targeting. This is his fourth acquisition since he took over the company as CEO eight months ago.

- see Sanofi's release
- check out the Bloomberg story