Press release

20 Aug 2013

HLL Biotech signs landmark agreement with Croatia’s IMZ for manufacture of measles vaccine

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 30: HLL Biotech Ltd (HBL), a subsidiary of HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL) has entered into a long-term supply and technology license agreement with the Institute of Immunology, Zagreb (IMZ), Croatia, for the manufacture of measles vaccine in India.

The agreement was signed between Dr M Ayyappan, Chairman & Managing Director, HLL Lifecare Ltd and Mr. Davorin Gajnik, Director, IMZ in the presence of Mr. Ivan Vrdoljak, Croatia’s Minister for Economy, in Zagreb on 20 August 2013.

Under the partnership agreement, IMZ will transfer the technology to manufacture bulk measles vaccine to HBL. Initially, for first two years, IMZ will supply the bulk of measles vaccine to HBL, which will be formulated and filled at the facility of HBL in India.

Set up in 1893, the Institute of Immunology, Zagreb, is one of the world’s oldest manufacturers of immunobiological medicines. It is a vaccine manufacturing and research facility of the Croatian government and a premier provider for measles vaccine strains in most parts of the world.

“Our agreement with IMZ is the first major project milestone of HBL’s vaccine technology collaboration intending to help protect children in India and other developing markets from measles,” Dr Ayyappan, who is also the Chairman of HBL, said at a press conference here today.

“Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and remains an important cause of death among young children globally. The Fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 4) aims to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.”

“Measles immunisation directly contributes to the reduction of under-five child mortality and hence to the achievement of MDG 4. Our collaboration will strengthen the immunisation programme in India and around the world,” Dr Ayyappan added.

The Government of India currently requires approximately 70-80 million doses of measles vaccine every year for the immunisation programme. HLL Biotech Limited will produce 80 million doses of measles vaccine for the Indian market, which will help meet the major share of the government’s requirements.

IMZ has its own master measles virus seed which is known and recognised throughout the world. “Since the seed and the technology from IMZ is already registered in India, HBL will save time and cost for producing the vaccine in India, making it both available and affordable to millions,” Dr Ayyappan said.

HBL and IMZ expect their long-term partnership to lead to the development of the next generation of vaccines. Dr Ayyappan said the technology collaboration is a turning point for India’s immunisation programme. “The long term association with IMZ is fully aligned with the Government of India’s vision of providing high-quality and cost effective measles vaccine to those in need and by leveraging HBL’s strengths to play a significant role in the fight against measles.”

Construction work has begun on HBL’s Rs 594 crore Integrated Vaccine Complex at Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu. Mechanical completion of the facility is expected by 2015 and it is expected to be fully operation by the end of 2016. The Government of India has designated this as a project of national importance, Dr Ayyappan informed. 

HBL will manufacture Pentavalent combination (DPT plus Hep B plus Hib), BCG, Measles, Hepatitis B, Human Rabies, Hib and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccines in the first phase. HBL also seeks to develop a strong R&D base for development of futuristic vaccines, apart from manufacturing and supplying vaccines required for the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) of India.

The rabies vaccine has been developed internally, and HBL expects to produce 20 million doses of it annually, helping address the shortage of affordable vaccines that the country faces.

“The primary goal of HLL is to make healthcare delivery widely available and healthcare products, including vaccines, medicines and medical equipment, affordable to the general public,” he said.

The mini-Ratna PSU is also planning to set up a Medical Devices Park over 330 acres of land adjacent to the Integrated Vaccine Complex. The project is awaiting approval from the central government.

Shri E A Subramanian, Chief Executive Officer, HLL Biotech Limited; Dr Babu Thomas, Senior Vice President, HLL Lifecare Limited and Sri K K Suresh Kumar, Director, Marketing, HLL Lifecare Limited were present at the press briefing today.