Mumbai: Cipla Ltd has signed an agreement with Serum Institute of India Ltd to exclusively sell influenza vaccine Nasovac-S in India.

Under this agreement, Serum Institute will develop and manufacture the vaccine, while Mumbai-based Cipla will exclusively market it in India.

Influenza occurs globally with an annual attack rate estimated at 5–10% in adults and 20–30% in children. Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3-5 million cases of severe illness, and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths.

“This partnership is a significant step towards making preventive healthcare accessible to a large number of Indians through Cipla’s strong countrywide sales force," said Subhanu Saxena, managing director and global CEO, Cipla.

Serum Institute of India is the world’s second largest vaccine maker in terms of the number of doses manufactured and supplied to more than 140 countries. The vaccines include diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, HIB, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis a, influenza and polio vaccines.

On 20 May, Bloomberg had reported that Serum Institute would look at a possible merger with Cipla if the European venture between the two companies succeeds.

“If it’s successful, then the merger makes sense, because then we’d be selling as well as manufacturing here, so it’d make a lot of sense," Serum’s chairman Cyrus Poonawalla had said.

The companies struck a distribution agreement for affordable pediatric vaccines in Europe, Cipla said in a statement on 20 November.

Serum held preliminary discussions with Cipla on a merger, Poonawalla had said in interview with CNBC-TV18 earlier this year.

On Wednesday, shares of Cipla gained 0.19% to close at 663.2 on BSE.