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Vaccine Production Affordable, High-quality Vaccines for All?

| Author / Editor: Suhas Rai / Dominik Stephan

The Serum Institute of India, a leading biotech company and vaccine manufacturer in the country has a vision – to continually increase the production of affordable and highquality vaccines. Bosch Packaging Technology helps the company achieve this goal by providing best-inclass machinery to successfully manufacture life-saving medication.

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FLC Series machinery for handling vials from
FLC Series machinery for handling vials from
(Picture: Bosch Packaging Technology)

Serum Institute of India was established way back in 1966 with the aim of manufacturing affordable, life-saving immunobiologics. The credit goes to its founder and owner Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla who wanted every child in the world to have access to inexpensive bacterial and viral vaccines against tetanus, influenza, MMR (mumps, measles and rubella), to name just a few. With the vision to start a business in the healthcare sector, he began manufacturing antitoxins at affordable prices, without making any compromises on quality. Those days, these vital preventive medicines were scarcely available and far too expensive for the majority of the Indian population, leading to the death of many children. He is rightly described as the ‘Indian vaccines czar’. Numerous humanitarian organizations and international celebrities accompanied Dr Poonawalla and his colleagues on their charitable journey.

Achievements in Vaccines

The company is qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO); it supplies products to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). In collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates-funded Meningitis Vaccine Project, a partnership between WHO and the international non-profit organization PATH, Serum Institute produced the new meningitis vaccine, MenAfriVac, for the African market at only 50 cents per dose.

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Today, it is one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines in the world with a huge capacity of billions of different vaccine doses annually and reaches out to more than 140 countries. Even new vaccines, such as the five-in-one Pentavalent (Penta) and anti-rabies vaccines, are made available at affordable prices, not just to children in India but around the world.

India's Pharmaceutical Industry has Global Ambitions

The five-in-one Pentavalent vaccine protects children from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), which causes pneumonia and meningitis. As a result of its pioneering work, the company has managed to bring down the prices of the latest developed vaccines, such as the Penta vaccine.

The manufacturer aims at targeting more countries every year. By acquiring a company in the Netherlands, Serum Institute hopes to spread its wings in the European markets. Future goals lie in the development of vaccines, which are at various clinical stages – Phase I, II and III.

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