Shantha Biotechnics To Supply Hepatitis-B Vaccine To Unicef

Hyderabad, October 28: | Updated: Oct 29 2002, 05:30am hrs
Hyderabad-based Shantha Biotechnics Private Ltd has been awarded an order to supply 8.5 million doses of its low-cost, indigenously developed Hepatitis B vaccine, Shanvac-B, to Unicef over a two year period. Addressing a press conference here on Monday to announce the consignment of first batch of doses to Unicef, Mr Varaprasad Reddy, managing director, Shantha Biotechnics, said the company has bagged the order in less than 5 months of the WHO certification to Indias first genetically developed Hepatitis vaccine - Shanvac-B.

This is the real benefit for the organisation which had undergone a lot of turbulence over the last few years, Mr Reddy said and added that it is an important milestone in the companys mission to develop, produce and supply this life-saving vaccine to the global population at large. The first consignment of 1.6 million doses, valued at Rs 5 crore, was handed over by the state industries minister Vidhyayer Rao to Unicef state representative Williams Thompson here.

The Shanvac-B, which has been priced at a low of Rs 50 a dose in the domestic market, is being supplied at Rs 24 a dose for Unicef. The imported one is being sold at a whopping price of Rs 750 a dose.

According to Mr Reddy, the remaining quantities would be delivered before the end of next year. As part of its long-term understanding, Shantha Biotechnics would also participate in the forthcoming Unicef tenders for the supply of low-cost hepatitis vaccine for the years of 2004, 2005 and 2006, he added.

The company, which is exporting to West Asia, Africa, would also tap the markets of Latin America and other countries. We are looking at Rs 40 crore sales from exports in the next one year, Mr Reddy said. The company, based on the central, state government and Bill Gates Foundation programmes, is expected to achieve the sale of 60 per cent of its total 96 million capacity in the next two years, Mr Reddy pointed out.

According to Mr Williams Thompson of Unicef, the consignment will be shipped to Copenhegan for supplies to Albania, Tajiskistan and Turkmenistan. He also called for strong R&D support from governments.