Poonawalla’s Serum Institute buys NVI’s production biz for $40M
Netherlands Vaccine Institute

The Serum Institute of India Limited (Serum) has acquired the production unit of Netherland’s state-owned vaccine maker Netherlands Vaccine Institute (NVI) called Bilthoven Biologicals for €32 million ($40 million). The manufacturing activities of the NVI have been making losses for years, following which, it was decided to divest the production activities and facilities of the NVI three years ago.

NVI manufactures vaccines against polio, diphtheria, tetanus and is in the process of preparing a vaccine to treat bladder cancer for the global markets.With the deal, Serum gets access to NVI’s ready-to-use manufacturing units that have been approved by US FDA besides besides intellectual property and access to technology and expertise for making the Injectable Polio Vaccine(Salk).

Bilthoven Biologicals manufacturing facility is spread over 20 acres and employs over 200 people. The facility has a manufacturing capacity of over 20 million doses of vaccines in a year and the company sells these vaccines to Europe and developing countries.

American Appraisal was the deal advisor to NVI for this transaction.

Privately held Serum is one of the world's largest manufacturer of measles and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines. It manufactures over 15 kinds of bacterial, viral and combination vaccines besides anti-cancer products. The company is associated with international health agencies such as the WHO, UNICEF and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

It is a cash rich vaccine maker led by Pune-based billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla. Cyrus Poonawalla, chairman of the Poonawalla Group and Serum Institute said, “This acquisition will significantly strengthen our position in the global vaccines market, while giving us access to the technology and production facility of Injectable Polio Vaccine (Salk), which is the only logical solution available to the world for the eradication of polio. More importantly it also gives the Poonawalla Group an important operational and strategic beachhead in Europe and the US, with the important manufacturing base in the Netherlands.This will also significantly enhance our earlier offerings in the pediatric vaccines segment including DPT, Measles and MMR vaccines where we are the global leaders today.”

Adar Poonawalla, executive directorof the Poonawalla Group and Serum Institute said, “The Poonawalla Group is committed to investing over Euros 70 - 80 million over the next 3 years to augment the infrastructure and enhance the manufacturing capacity of the Bilthoven’s facilities.”

The Poonawalla group ventures also include Poonawalla Stud Farms, Intervalve (India) Ltd and Elomatic (India) Pvt Ltd, besides hospitality ventures.

The Poonawalla Group had diversified into the hospitality business by acquiring a stake in two UK-based hotels. One of them is a luxury spa at Surrey called Grayshott. The other is a countryside hotel called Fawsley Hall located close to the Formula 1 racing track at Silverstone.

Serum had earlier acquired a stake in Lipoxen PLC, a biopharmaceutical company specialising in the development of differentiated biologicals, vaccines and oncology drugs, for around $ 4.9 million in 2006.

Some of the other overseas acquisition deals in the pharmaceutical and biotech field include Aanjaneya Lifecare's acquisition of 90 per cent stake in Singapore-based Eros Pharmachem Pte and Dishman Pharmaceutical & Chemicals purchase of France-based Creapharm Parenterals SA.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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