Panacea Biotec wins $222.37 million UNICEF contract for EasyFive vaccine

Panacea Biotec has received a Rs1,067 crore (around $222.37 million) UNICEF contract for supply of its EasyFive (pentavalent vaccine), for years 2010, 2011 and 2012, the company said in a filing with the Bombay Stock exchange (BSE).

EasyFive is world's first fully liquid pentavalent vaccine introduced in India by Panacea Biotec in January 2005, which immunises children against five dreadful diseases - diphtheria, tetanus, wholecell pertussis, hepatitis B and hemophilus influenza Type b - of early childhood.

Panacea Biotec, India's second-largest biotechnology company, had received the pre-qualification for EasyFive by WHO in July last year.

Pentavalent vaccines are used by UN agencies (UNICEF, PAHO etc) to vaccinate and save precious lives of millions of children in the developing world.

Panacea Biotec has been focusing its R&D efforts on immunisation segment. It has launched world's first fully liquid vaccine with brands such as, 'EasyFour' and 'EasyFive'.

Panacea Biotec has partnered with WHO and UNICEF in their effort to maximise coverage of vaccines under the `Expanded Program on Immunisation'. The company has also been granted pre-qualification by WHO for its other two combination vaccines, EasyFour (DTP + Hib) and Ecovac (DTP + Hep B). Panacea Biotec is also a pre-qualified supplier of oral polio vaccine (OPV) and Hepatitis-B vaccines to UN agencies.

The combined demand of all combination pediatric vaccines worldwide was around $600 million in 2005 and is estimated to grow up to $1.6 billion by 2012.

Developing countries alone would need a combination vaccine to the tune of around 300 million doses annually, the company said in its release.