Bharat Biotech snaps up GSK rabies unit

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Global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) sale of its Gujarat-based anti-rabies vaccine arm Chiron Behring Vaccines to Bharat Biotech International was a complex deal given the regulated nature of the vaccines.

“Unlike regular vaccines, anti-rabies vaccines are not preventative and are regulated both in India as well as in many jurisdictions around the world,” Talwar Thakore & Associates partner Feroz Dubash told India Business Law Journal.

“Negotiating non-compete arrangements in specific territories had to take the regulations into account. In a number of jurisdictions, regulators could insist on stocks of the vaccine being available. Additionally, quality arrangements are vital, both as a public health matter and from a liability perspective.”

With this acquisition, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech becomes the largest
anti-rabies vaccine maker in the world.

“This is an exciting strategic deal for Bharat Biotech, which already has a wide portfolio of vaccines,” said Dubash. “The addition of the vaccine will establish it as a global leader in rabies vaccines manufacturing. Bharat Biotech has plans to enhance upon the manufacturing capabilities at Chiron Behring Vaccines and expand market access through product registrations in additional high-demand countries.”

Talwar Thakore & Associates advised GSK Asia on the deal. GSK had acquired Chiron Behring as part of its global acquisition of Novartis.

Talwar Thakore & Associates also advised GSK Biologicals and GSK Vaccines on ancillary agreements relating to technology transfer and transition services. Dubash was supported by managing associate Deepa Christopher and associate Rebha Dakshini. LVV Iyer & Associates was the legal adviser to Bharat Biotech.

Bharat Biotech’s vaccines have market access to more than 70 countries. Chiron Behring Vaccines was formed as a result of the purchase of the vaccines business of Hoechst 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 more than 20 countries.