Serum Institute to launch 4 vaccines, enter US, Europe markets

New Delhi, Dec 7: Homegrown global vaccines major Serum Institute of India plans to launch at least four products and enter European and US markets in the next three to four years as it seeks to retain number one position.

The company sells its products in 147 countries and is the largest vaccines manufacturer by dosage globally with 1.2 billion doses per annum.

“There are two ways to maintain the position – come out with new vaccines as fast as possible for the existing markets and developing new markets,” Serum Institute of India CEO Adar C Poonawalla said.

Elaborating on the company’s plans to launch new vaccines, he said Serum Institute plans to launch four new vaccines in the coming years.

“We are planning to launch a pentavalent meningitis vaccine. It is five-in-one meningitis vaccine. It will be coming out in less than two years time,” Poonawalla said.

By end of 2019, there is a plan to launch a pneumonia vaccine, which will have a huge impact of protecting children’s lives, as pneumonia causes maximum number of child deaths in the world, including in India, he added.

The other vaccines the company plans to launch are a dengue vaccine and a human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine for cervical cancer in women, he said.

He sought government help to cut down the time required for approvals and improve ease of doing business and for the company to stay ahead of global competition.

“For us to stay ahead, we need support from the government to give us a fast track approval for our new vaccines,” Poonawalla said.

On entering new markets, especially the developed ones in Europe and the US, he said steps are being taken up to have presence in these markets.

“We are not selling in the US and Europe right now but eventually in three years time we will go to Europe. Our first vaccine, TDAP (for protection tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) should be launched in Europe in three years. It is a booster vaccine given to children,” Poonawalla said.

The company’s new facility in Pune, which will be ready in a year and a half will cater to Europe and the US, he added.

When asked about the company’s investments on new products, he said: “We spend between Rs 300-400 crore a year on research and development.”

Moreover, the company spends Rs 300-400 crore every year on capex, he added.

“We re-plough around 80 per cent of our profits in our business for R&D and capex for future growth and for upkeep of our facilities,” he added. (PTI)

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