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French drug company Sanofi-Aventis said its vaccine unit Sanofi-Pasteur is taking control of Indian vaccine maker Shantha Biotechnics via the acquisition of Merieux Alliance's subsidiary ShanH, which owns a majority stake in Shantha Biotechnics. This transaction values  Hyderabad-based Shantha Biotechnics at EUR550 million. For the current fiscal year, sales of Shantha are expected to be around $90 million.

Mérieux Alliance has made nearly 4.5 times its money from this investment. In 2006, the European biotech major, which is the family holding of biotech billionaire Alain Mérieux, whose father Marcel Merieux, was a former laboratory aide to Louis Pasteur, had bought 60% stake in Shantha at a valuation of $175 million. 

Under the latest deal, Sanofi Pasteur will support Shantha's ongoing development as a platform to address the need for high quality affordable vaccination in international markets. Sales are expected to grow significantly given the commercial resources of Sanofi Pasteur and through the development and launch of Shantha's pipeline of new vaccines, Sanofi-Aventis said. 

Commenting on the agreement, Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of sanofi-aventis said: “Shantha provides Sanofi Pasteur with a portfolio of new vaccines in development which complement Sanofi Pasteur’s current vaccines, positioning the company to accelerate its growth in strategically important emerging markets.

The state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities allow Sanofi Pasteur to gain high quality capacity in order to enable us to provide important vaccines at affordable prices to many people around the world.”

Merieux Alliance is a holding company comprising public health companies including BioMerieux and Transgene.

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