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Panacea, Indonesian firm tie up for measles vaccine

Our Bureau

New Delhi , July 11

Panacea Biotec Ltd on Tuesday signed an agreement with PT Bio Pharma, a State-owned Indonesian enterprise, to manufacture and market the measles vaccine.

According to the agreement, Panacea Biotec will procure bulk vaccine from PT Bio Pharma and formulate it into a finished product. "We will manufacture, package and sell the vaccine in the defined global markets," Mr Rajesh Jain, Joint Managing Director, Panacea Biotec Ltd, said. The vaccine would be ready for supply by April 2007. The company would supply the vaccine to UNICEF, PAHO, African, LATAM, Asian, CIS and the West Asian countries in furtherance of the WHO and UNICEF Global Measles Reduction Strategy. Though Mr Jain refused to comment on the pricing structure and the investment involved in the manufacturing of the vaccine, he said that any phase-three trial would need up to $250,000.

Mr Marzuki Abdullah, President Director, PT Bio Pharma, said, "Measles is a widespread disease worldwide, especially in the developing countries, taking almost 2.5 lakh lives annually. Globally the size of the measles vaccine market is estimated at around $50-60 million, while the demand of the vaccine is estimated at almost 40 million doses annually in India."

Mr Jain said that the company was targeting to manufacture an average of 30-50 million doses every year. Currently the only other company manufacturing the vaccine for domestic use is Serum Institute of India Ltd. He also informed that there were four other vaccines that Panacea Biotec was in the process of developing. The vaccines would be for dengue, hepatitis A, PA Anthrax and Japanese Encephalitis — all of which would be ready for the commercial market by 2010.

On other expansion plans, Mr Jain said, "We will be opening a fifth R&D centre in Mumbai with a capacity of almost 100 scientists, which would be functional by September 2007."

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