Glaxo Starts India Venture to Develop Emerging Market Vaccines

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) agreed to form a joint venture in India to produce a six-in-one vaccine that will immunize children in developing countries against infectious diseases including polio.

The London-based drugmaker has agreed to form a 50-50 venture with India’s Biological E Ltd. to develop a product that would combine Glaxo’s injectable polio shot with a vaccine produced by Biological E that protects against five diseases including diphtheria and tetanus, the companies said in an e- mailed statement today.

Boosting vaccine production in India will help Glaxo gain market share as smaller Indian rivals like billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla’s Serum Institute of India Ltd. make inroads by selling low-priced shots for developing countries. Poonawalla said this month he is being urged to offer the injectable polio vaccine at a third to a quarter of its current price.

Glaxo and Paris-based Sanofi (SAN) are the largest suppliers of injectable polio vaccine, which is used in most developed countries to protect children against crippling poliomyelitis.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine-making unit of France’s largest drugmaker, already has an Indian vaccine unit, Hyderabad-based Shantha Biotechnics Pvt.

Shantha’s Shan6 inoculation will be an “affordable answer” to six diseases including polio, said Olivier Charmeil, president and chief executive officer of Sanofi Pasteur, said Jan. 17.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ketaki Gokhale in Mumbai at kgokhale@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Gale at j.gale@bloomberg.net

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