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Novartis said to want out of Indian vaccines venture

Reports in India claim the pharma company is pulling out of its deal with Panacea Biotec

Novartis building

Novartis plans to exit an eight-year-old vaccines joint venture with India's Panacea Biotec and intends to go it alone, according to reports.

An article in the Economic Times suggests that the collaboration, which focused on the development and sale of paediatric vaccines for the Indian market, will soon be dissolved, citing an anonymous source.

The joint venture was set up in 2004 between Panacea and Chiron, which was acquired by Novartis for $7.5bn back in 2008 as a bolt-on vaccines unit. It sells a range of vaccines including shots against polio, hepatitis B, anthrax and dengue fever, as well as pentavalent vaccines used in childhood immunisation programmes.

The paper suggests that Panacea will have to find another marketing partner for its vaccines business, which has been struggling in the wake of a World Health Organization (WHO) decision to remove it from the prequalified list of pentavalent vaccine suppliers in 2011.

Meanwhile, the company has also fallen foul of regulatory authorities in India, which seized more than 15,000 vials of pentavalent vaccine earlier this year after an investigation suggested that expiry dates on their labels had been falsified.

The company secured a 345 million polio vaccine order from the Indian government last December worth around $27m, and there have also been signs that Panacea's non-vaccine business has been picking up of late.

It also forged two new collaborations for generic pharmaceutical products signed towards the end of last year with UCB subsidiary Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals and Osmotica Pharmaceutical.

Article by
Phil Taylor

29th August 2013

From: Sales

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