FOCUSED ON QUALITY, NOT JUST COST
But Vara-prasad is a man committed to quality as well as low cost. Shantha has passed several quality audits to become pre-qualified
by the World Health Organization to supply several vaccines to UN agencies, and is already supplying Shanvac-B to UNICEF.
Shantha also is the first biotech company to receive a National Technology Award from the Prime Minister of India.
Continuous improvement is also a top priority. "The biggest challenge for us is to keep up with the various regulatory agencies'
requirements and to be ready to meet the demands of the changing landscape of vaccine development," says Varaprasad. The company
is addressing this, he says, by continuing to build on the local talent.
While Shantha continues to develop the expertise of Indian scientists, the company is increasing its international ties. In
November 2006, the Merieux Alliance group, a 120-year old healthcare company based in France, acquired a 60% share of Shantha.
For Shantha, this link to Merieux is beneficial, because it opens doors to Western markets. "Shantha Biotechnics has the capacity,
capabilities, expertise, and GMP quality systems in place to partner with major European and US pharmaceutical companies for
the development and manufacturing of vaccines," says Varaprasad. The alliance also benefits Merieux, as well, by allowing
it to invest in the growing vaccines market.
For the future, though, Varaprasad wants to take the development of home grown talent into the next arena: innovator drugs.
Given what he has achieved so far, there seems to be no reason to doubt that he can accomplish that, too.
Krish Venkat, PhD, is a director of quality control at Wyeth Biotech, Pearl River, NY, 845.602.1080, email@example.com
He is also a member of BioPharm International's editorial advisory board.