Mumbai: Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine-making arm of France’s Sanofi-Aventis SA, has acquired a controlling stake in Hyderabad-based Shantha Biotechnics Pvt. Ltd. Pascal Barollier, vice-president, global external and scientific communications at Sanofi Pasteur, spoke in an interview about his views on the acquisition and the road ahead. Edited excerpts:
Market-driven: A file photo of Pascal Barollier of Sanofi Pasteur. Stephen Hilger / Bloomberg
What are the synergies you see with this deal with Shantha?
First, Shantha is an interesting and a brilliant company. And Sanofi Pasteur is sure this deal will be able to support Shantha’s ongoing development. Shantha today already has a platform to address the needs for high-quality, affordable vaccinations in international markets. And through the means of Sanofi, which is the leader in many vaccines around the world, Sanofi Pasteur will bring extra support to Shantha to further develop its offerings and the marketing possibilities of these offerings to more countries. It will be also a good source of support for Shantha in the industrial production of vaccines.
What’s going to be your focus?
The key focus first will be on existing products from Shantha. Shantha has several world-class vaccines today and these vaccines have been pre-qualified by WHO (World Health Organization) for supplying to UN (United Nations) agencies. Our intention is to help Shantha grow this market with existing products and deliver these products to additional markets in emerging countries. The second is to look at existing vaccines in the portfolio of Shantha and to help grow those vaccines into products.
The company has sales of about $90 million (Rs433.8 crore) and you have valued it at about €550 million (Rs3,778.5 crore). Where do you see this premium? Do you think it is justified?
We see emerging economies and economies from the South (poorer economies) as a key driver in Sanofi Aventis and Sanofi Pasteur. Shanta by its existing products from the industrial operations platform and pipeline of new vaccines has three legs. That’s our source of potential growth in the emerging countries, the famous Bric (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries and other countries that are increasingly implementing immunization strategies.
Vaccines today are a key factor in prevention. Prevention is now well understood by governments around the world as the main driver of global health and in reducing the cost of healthcare throughout the world. Shantha was the perfect company to acquire and further develop to address the needs of developing markets.