Aventis to exit Chiron JV with Novartis, with Rs105-crore stake sale

Aventis Pharma, the Indian arm of French drug giant Sanofi-Aventis, today said that it will exit its joint venture Chiron Behring Vacines Pvt Ltd (CBVPL) by selling its 49-per cent stake, for $23.399 million (Rs105 crore).

Aventis Pharma will sell its stake to Novartis Pharma AG, a nominee of joint venture partner Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics Inc, a unit of Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG. The deal is expected to conclude before 31 December 2010.

Both Aventis Pharma and Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics have been at loggerheads over marketing the Aventis anti-rabies vaccine Verorab.

Novartis had filed a suit in the Mumbai High Court in order to stop Aventis from marketing the drug directly and instead sell it through their JV.

The Court had stopped Aventis from selling the drug.

Both companies have now agreed to settle their dispute and withdraw the suit following the deal.

CBVPL manufactures anti rabies vaccine Rabipur at its plant in Ankleshwar in Gujarat and until February, 2009, the vaccine was distributed in India by Aventis Pharma. It is currently being distributed by Novartis Healthcare Private Ltd .

Aventis Pharma said that it will continue to provide certain utilities and services at the Ankleshwar plant for a period of three years on mutually agreed terms.