Union Health Secretary Shri Apurva Chandra today visited the manufacturing unit of global pharmaceutical company Bilthoven Biologicals at Utrecht, Netherlands. He had an engaging meeting with CEO Mr. Juergen Kwik & CEO of Poonawalla Science Park (PSP) at Bilthoven Mr. Jef De Clercq on EU pandemic preparedness partnership and collaboration on production of vaccines. He met the senior management and was briefed on the various manufacturing units of the facility. A detailed presentation was made on their future manufacturing plans. Bilthoven Biologicals B.V. Co., manufactures pharmaceutical products such as vaccines for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-polio, and tetanus along with bacillus calmette-guerin (BCG).

The bioengineering and vaccine production firm Bilthoven Biologicals was purchased by Serum India Ltd., in 2012. This has strengthened its capacity of producing vaccines and also provided it with a valuable manufacturing base in Europe. Recently Serum and Bharat Biotech have announced collaboration for enhanced production of OPV. Bharat Biotech will collaborate with Netherlands-based Bilthoven Biologicals B.V, a wholly-owned arm of Serum Institute of India. An agreement has been signed under which Bharat Biotech will procure drug substances for manufacturing oral polio vaccines to be supplied within India and globally. This will contribute to supply security of oral polio vaccines. With this partnership, the capacity of BBIL to manufacture Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) has increased to 500 million doses every year. 

Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) of the Union Health Ministry is one of the key interventions for protection of children from life threatening conditions by providing vaccination, including vaccine against polio.  India has been certified free of Polio in March 2014. However, to maintain the polio-free status, polio vaccine is given to children as part of the high quality national and sub-national polio rounds across the country. A sustained supply of OPV is essential for keeping India polio free. The partnership between BBIL and Serum will contribute to providing a sustained supply of OPV in the country.

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