India's Cipla breaks into vaccines with Serum deal in Europe

Indian generics maker Cipla is taking its low-cost game into the vaccine field, thanks to a new deal with the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Cipla CEO Subhanu Saxena

Under the agreement, Cipla--India's fourth-largest drugmaker--will be responsible for seeking EMA approval and marketing green-lighted SII-produced vaccines in Europe.

For affordability-focused Serum, the tie-up is the "perfect platform" for bringing low-cost vaccines to the continent, the institute's CEO, Adar Poonawalla, said in a statement. "Cipla and SII share the same core values such as self-sufficiency, affordability, accessibility, quality and commitment to global health," Cipla CEO Subhanu Saxena added.

Cipla European head Frank Pieters

The pact will also help Cipla strengthen its European footprint, which has been growing over the past 6 months as the company rolled out Salmeterol/Fluticasone, its generic of GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) respiratory behemoth Advair, in countries like Germany, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia. In the year ended March 2013, the region kicked in 5.7% of the company's total revenue, Reuters notes.

And as Cipla works to offer "a new pharma concept built on layers of value," it sees vaccines as "one of the critical components of our offering to European patients," European head Frank Pieters said in a statement.

"With Cipla's front-end presence and with the support of a dedicated sales force, we will broaden the reach of vaccines across Europe," he said.

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