The Indian vaccine market is forecast to grow at 23% from 2009-10 through 2011-12 registering revenues around $2 billion. Vaccines have emerged as one of the growth drivers of the global pharmaceutical industry, according Steven H Myint, chairman of Chennai-based Green Signal Bio Pharma
Edison (New Jersey): India has emerged as one of the leading vaccine manufacturer in recent times, producing 60% of the global health vaccines, reports PTI.
India had revenue of $665 million in this space which was expected to reach $800 million soon, said Steven H Myint, chairman of Chennai-based Green Signal Bio Pharma Private Limited.
The Indian vaccine market is forecast to grow at 23% from 2009-10 through 2011-12 registering revenues around $2 billion. Vaccines have emerged as one of the growth drivers of the global pharmaceutical industry, he said.
In an interview, the distinguished scientist said that scare of the avian influenza, bioterrorism organisms and new emerging infections like SARS and the introduction of cancer and rotavirus vaccines have led to phenomenal growth in the vaccine market in the last few years.
Exports have a major share in the Indian vaccine market, with 70% vaccines being exported. Of the total domestic market, the private sector's share stood at $120 million or at 40%.
Top vaccine manufacturers have a reasonably diverse product portfolio which has led to reduced competition in the Indian market. The Indian market includes foreign majors like GSK, Sanofi, Eli Lily, and Merck to name some.
But the scene is essentially dominated by Indian players such as Green Signal Bio Pharma based in Chennai who have gained significant expertise in manufacturing practices for macromolecules with quality but at low cost and have capitalized on the rising global demand for affordable vaccines, he said.
The global vaccine market grew at a healthy 28% during 2005-08 and reached a size of approximately $20 billion. Growth from the sales of vaccines has surpassed the growth in many traditional pharma areas of vaccine manufacturers such as GSK, Merck, Wyeth and Sanofi Aventis.
Globally, the US recorded the largest share in the vaccine market at around 43% and Europe is the second largest vaccine market and source of production. However, it is estimated that in the future more opportunities for manufacture and sales of vaccines will emerge from developing nations such as India and China, he said.
Prof Myint, an eminent senior board level physician with experience in public health, academia and biopharmaceutical industries is a well-known strategist, planner and organisational leader supported by outstanding research and analytical skills. He took over as chairman of Green Signal Pharma Private Limited from its founder-president N Sundar Paripoornan in Jan 2011.
Prof Myint said his company would go in for manufacturing research and development (R&D) in-house to improve vaccines including introducing circumvention of the 'cold chain'. It would also partner with companies across the globe to help develop new vaccines.
"India is growing faster than China in the area of biopharmaceuticals and we will introduce new vaccines with the help of new technology. Our company had lined up partners and would be ready to go into action in Singapore and another one within India to help us with technology to diversifying into newer areas," he said.
"We are also developing plans with the Nigerian government and with a major university in Nigeria where PhD students are involved in tuberculosis research projects for making biomarkers for TB vaccines," he said.
"The company will work closely with bodies such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to get grants to do research," he added.
"Within 18 months we will have that next vaccine being produced for the market. We could be a hub for the whole world not only Asia because of our strategic location in India," he said.
The company plans to work in partnership with the Gates Foundation in the TB vaccine project. Green Signal Bio Pharma has offered to give free vaccines for the coming years to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for use in poorer countries, he said.
With a number of blockbuster vaccines in pipeline, the market is expected to explode in future with vaccines expected to grow faster than any other therapy area at around 13% during 2009-12, registering highest growth rate among all the therapy areas, he said.
Successful development and launch of a vaccine is a highly cash intensive work. Anything between $500 million to $1 billion may be incurred in successfully launching a vaccine in the market, and failure in any of the clinical trial phases would leave the company with substantial loss.
This risk is mitigated to a large extent by assured support from the government and NGOs in the form of immunization financing.
Vaccine developers have to contend with the lack of infrastructure and facilities for conducting large-scale clinical trials in developing countries. In phase III trials, the developer should not only manufacture the vaccine in relatively small amounts needed for the trials, but should also be prepared to manufacture the vaccine for wider use as soon as possible in case the vaccine is found effective.
However, developers face considerable risks by investing large amounts in manufacturing capacity before the trials conclude, since the vaccine may yet be proven ineffective, he said.
On 7 April 2011, The Economic Times published a news report headlined "GVK in talks to fund Hancock mines buy". Quoting unnamed sources, the report said that GVK Power and Infrastructure was in advanced talks with Standard Chartered and ICICI Bank to raise funds to acquire Hancock Prospecting Pty's two coal mines in Australia.
Just two days before The Economic Times report, on 5th April, Bloomberg reported the same news, but quoted different investors. It said GVK was in talks with private equity firms, including 3i Group Plc and Actis LLP, to raise funds for the deal. However, both news items said that GVK would have to pay around $1.5 billion to seal the deal and that it would invest around $6 billion to $7 billion over a period of five to six years in working capital and other investments.
The speculation, however, did not attract the market's attention. After the Bloomberg report came on 5th April, the share price barely rose to Rs28.83 from Rs27.96 on 4th April. After The Economic Times report, the share price rose by 3% to Rs30.10 from the previous day's closing price. On 8th April the share price dropped back to Rs28.85.
In response to a query from the bourses on the news reports, the company denied the reports saying no such developments have taken place either at the company or with any of its subsidiaries.
Sometimes, share prices of some companies move without any reason and the regulator hardly pays attention to inquire into this. On 6th April, the trading volumes and the share price of Jai Corp and Strides Arcolab saw significant movement without any convincing reasons.
After massive searches on Google, the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange, we found no information or news that could have caused such changes in the trading volumes and the share prices. On 6th April, Jai Corp clocked a volume of 3,477,696 from 167,963 on 5th April, while the share price surged by 15% to Rs 197.75, from Rs171.55 the previous day.
In the Strides Arcolab case, the trading volume surged to 362,986 from 9,489 on 5th April, a whopping 3,725%. The share price closed at Rs395, up from Rs366.20 on 5th April.
As usual, the bourses asked for clarifications and both companies in their usual format replied, "We have no information/announcement to make with respect to the company's