Sanofi boosts India presence with $300M vaccine investment

Lured by growing demand in emerging markets, Sanofi ($SNY) CEO Chris Viehbacher (photo) says his company's Sanofi Pasteur unit plans to open a vaccine manufacturing plant in India--which is slated to be Asia's biggest--as early as March. The announcement comes two years after the French developer purchased India's Shantha Biotech for $784 million. 

Sanofi has forked out $300 million since the buyout to expand its vaccine capabilities through Shantha; however, the deal hasn't come without some complications. Manufacturing defects forced the World Health Organization to cancel pre-qualification of Shan5, a vaccine that prevents diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, haemophilus influenza B and hepatitis B, costing Sanofi hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. But Viebacher is confident those struggles are in the past. "We have implemented all the corrective measures. And we are quite positive about the relationship with Shantha and will be participating in global tenders once the pre-qualification process is completed for low-cost and high-quality vaccines," he said, according to the Business Standard.

"Shantha is very much in line with our strategy to ramp up sales in emerging markets," Viehbacher adds, as quoted by MyDigitalFC. "We are investing as much in R&D as in manufacturing and will set up a vaccine manufacturing facility close to the existing one. Even after the acquisition, we will spend $300 million over a three-year period to make a strong platform." The new manufacturing plant is part of Sanofi's strategy of earn 40% of its profits in emerging markets by 2015.

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