This was announced by Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, at a news conference. He, however, declined to reveal the value of the transaction, which is expected to be completed next month.
Chiron Behring Vaccines, the world's oldest vaccine company, was formed as a result of the purchase of the vaccines business of Hoechst AG by Chiron Corporation USA.
Chiron Behring Vaccines is a WHO pre-qualified manufacturer of rabies vaccines, eligible for supplies to UN agencies and has product registrations in 37 countries.
Ella said Chiron Behring will continue to operate as a separate company but will make the rabies vaccine under a new brand name. The unit has the capacity to manufacture 15 million doses.
He said Bharat Biotech would also continue production of its rabies vaccine Indirab. It is currently manufacturing 10 million doses annually.
He said they together could add the capacity by 10 million more doses, which would help India meet the shortage.
There are an estimated two million dog bites in India every year. According to him, India require 35-40 million doses to meet the requirement. The vaccine is currently priced at Rs 200.
Two to three companies, including Bharat Biotech, are currently supplying the vaccines to government agencies.
Ella said their first priority would be to meet the requirement in India. The acquisition has given the company immediate access to supply rabies vaccines to 37 countries, including countries in Latin America and Africa, which are facing severe shortage of these vaccines.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease. It is claiming the lives of over 55,000 people each year, mostly in Asia and Africa. India accounts for 36 per cent of the world's rabies deaths.