Shantha Bio Ropes In ABN Amro To Find Suitor For 26% Stake

Mumbai, Aug 30: | Updated: Aug 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
Shantha Biotech has roped in ABN Amro Asia Corporate Finance to scout for a strategic partner by offering an equity stake of 26 per cent in the company. The company plans to offer fresh equity which would be utilised for creating manufacturing facility to meet international specifications like USFDA, UKMCA, etc.

Confirming the development, Shantha Biotech managing director Varaprasad Reddy, told FE: It is true that we have given a mandate to ABN Amro for a private placement. But, the extent of dilution of our equity is not predetermined as of now. The promoters currently hold 89.66 per cent in the company.

Shantha Biotech had earlier diluted 6.9 per cent of its equity in September 2000 in favour of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and SBI Fund Management, raising Rs 50 crore in the bargain.

Shantha Biotech is a venture promoted by chief promoter Mr Reddy and associates (three non-resident Indians based in the US) along with Omani national Yusuf bin Alawi Abdullah (through the Mauri-tius-based United Overs-eas Investment Limited) and associates.

Shantha Biotech a pioneer in developing and commercialising a recombinant DNA-based hepatitis-B vaccine in India has recently launched Interfe-ron Alpha under the brand name Shanferon.

Other major generics lined up include insulin, streptokinase, new vaccines against hepatitis-C and hepatitis-E, among others.

The company has a modern production facility confirming to GMP (good manufacturing practice) standards, with an annual capacity of of manufacturing 50 million doses of r-DNA Hepatitis-B Vaccine. The company has a co-marketing tie-up with Pfizer Ltd to market its hepatitis-B vaccine. Shantha Biotech markets it under the brand name Shanvac-B, while Pfizer markets it under the brand name Hepashield.

The company has two joint ventures, one with East West Laboratories, USA to develop novel therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of different types of cancer, and the second joint venture is with Chennai-based ABL Technologies wherein Shantha Biotech has a 60 per cent stake. The JV with ABL focusses on marine biotechnology products, and would enable Shantha Biotech to manufacture pharma products from aquatic organisms.