Serum Institute buys defunct Czech vaccine maker for €72 million

Serum Institute has acquired a defunct unit of Czech Republic’s injectable polio vaccine maker Nanotherapeutics for €72 million, or about Rs500 crore


Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla. The company plans to produce a total of 1.2-1.3 billion doses of vaccines in India, and about 200-250 million of doses of vaccines overseas in the next three years. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla. The company plans to produce a total of 1.2-1.3 billion doses of vaccines in India, and about 200-250 million of doses of vaccines overseas in the next three years. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

Mumbai: Serum Institute of India Ltd, the world’s largest vaccine maker by number of doses produced and sold, has acquired a defunct unit of Czech Republic-based injectable polio doses maker Nanotherapeutics Inc. for €72 million (Rs521 crore), according to a company statement.

The acquisition will help the Pune-based company become the largest injectable polio vaccine maker in the world by increasing production capacity four-fold to more than 200 million doses by 2019.

The plant, located on 35 acres, hasn’t been functional. “We plan to invest an additional €30-40 million to upgrade it and make it functional over the next 2-3 years. The objective is to convert this old Baxter flu plant to the largest injectables polio vaccine plant in the world in two-and-a-half years’ time. That was the objective of making this acquisition,” said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India.

Currently, the unit has 45 employees and Serum Institute plans to add 100-150 employees, Poonawalla said, adding that there will be no change in the management.

The Indian firm has already paid about €45 million for the acquisition, while the rest is to be paid over the next one year. The current acquisition by the company is the second overseas one since 2012, when it bought a plant in Holland.

Serum Institute supplies vaccines including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, HIB, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis a, influenza and polio vaccines, to more than 147 countries.

“We were going to plan more overseas expansions. But over the last two years, we have spent close to Rs1,500 crore in the new greenfield site project here in Pune, which is the flu vaccine manufacturing facility to cater to the European and US markets, and also to launch our new pipeline vaccines that are coming up in the next three years,” Poonawalla said.

The company plans to produce a total of 1.2-1.3 billion doses of vaccines in India, and about 200-250 million of doses of vaccines overseas in the next three years.

Serum Institute has been growing at a 30% compound annual growth rate for the last five years, both in terms of revenue and profit, and hopes to continue the run with the launch of its new vaccine, he added.

The company, which comes up with a new vaccine every two years, is going to introduce a new Rotavirus vaccine in the next two months.

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