Mumbai: Aventis Pharma Ltd, the Indian listed subsidiary of French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis SA, has lost its marketing right for its flagship brand Rabipur vaccine, the leader in the Rs250 crore domestic rabies vaccine market. This follows a dispute between Aventis Pharma and the original owner of the brand in February. The brand belongs to a joint venture of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Inc and Chiron Behring Vaccines Pvt Ltd.
Aventis Pharma had control of about 70% of the rabies vaccine sale in India so far.
Sanofi Aventis holds 49% stake in Chiron currently but the distribution right of this product for the Indian company was under dispute on the renewal of the ten-year old agreement.
Sales of Rabipur for the year ended 31 December 2008 were Rs117.94 crore.
During the first quarter of this year, though the company posted a 5.5% growth in sales, a 75% decline in Rabipur sales to Rs9.2 crore from Rs 36.1 crore a year ago, has led to a decline in revenue growth. Its net profit for the quarter is Rs40.5 crore, against Rs34.5 crore in the year ago quarter.
While announcing the January-March 2009 earnings, the company said on Wednesday that it discontinued sales of Rabipur vaccine from 19 February.
The dispute on the distribution agreement was referred to an arbitrator who gave his verdict in favour of non-renewal of the distribution agreement for Rabipur vaccine for distributing in India and Nepal on 4 February.
Since Rabipur cannot be sold in India, the local rabies vaccine market is left with a coupld of local brands sold by Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and Bharat Biotec International Ltd.