Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA: An industrialist should blend business acumen and social responsibility to serve the needy, says K.I. Varaprasad Reddy, founder and Managing Director of Shantha Biotechnics, the first Indian company to launch an r-DNA vaccine in 1997.

Addressing a meeting here on Sunday organised by the Rotary Club of Vijayawada Mid-Town to honour him with Vocational Excellence Award, Dr. Reddy suggested that businessmen prepare a ‘hidden’ balance sheet for societal benefit.

Dr. Reddy said the several awards given to him had made him more responsible. “If M.S. Subbalakshmi was given a Bharat Ratna, it was in recognition of her individual talent. But an industrialist like me would need active support of his team members to achieve his goals,” he said.

History

Recounting a brief history of Shantha Biotechnics replete with stumbling blocks, he pointed out that over two lakh Indians died in the absence of a vaccine for Hepatitis B. Overcoming impediments, his company finally launched the vaccine on August 18 1997 making India the fourth nation that had genetic capability in the world.

“Ironically, while countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar import vaccines from Shanta Biotechnics and the UNICEF buys 52 per cent vaccines of the world requirement from ‘Shanta’, the Indian Government is yet to implement this vaccine,” he rued.

Industrialist Gokaraju Gangaraju, who presented the award to Dr. Reddy, described the latter as a philanthropist with an ideology. Rotarians T. Chandrasekhar and Venkateswara Rao were also present.