an electronics man to an innovator in biotechnology, the
metamorphosis took just half a decade. Known as the driving
force behind a batteries' manufacturing company, which
sourced its supplies to the defence forces, he shifted
focus to make biotechnology research, his passion. And,
within no time, his company, Shanta Biotechnics,
made pathbreaking progress by indigenously developing
'r-DNA Hepatitis-B vaccine'. A development which
must have todate saved over $ 100 million for the nation.
'Shanvac-B' vaccine with its low price tag unshackled
the Indian market from the clutches of multinationals.
The brain behind Shanvac-B is Mr Koduru Varaprasad
Reddy, the Managing Director of Shanta Biotech.
Varaprasad Reddy the only son of KV Ramana Reddy and
Shantha was born into a simple agricultural family.
He was born on November 17, 1948 in Papireddy Palem village
in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. He got his
Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree from Sri Venkateshwara
University in 1967. Then he moved to Andhra University
to pursue his Engineering degree in Electronics
Reddy went to West Germany to do his PG Diploma
in Computer Sciences from Biblingen University. Instead
of settling in Europe or US, he returned
to India and joined Defence Electronics Research
Laboratories (DERL) as a Scientist in 1972. At DERL,
he was responsible for developing electronic counters
and other electronic counter measures. After serving in
the defence forces for five years, he left the DERL in
1977 and joined Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development
Corporation (APIDC) as an administrator to promote
the objective of the organisation. He guided a good number
of entrepreneurs in their project implementation. While
promoting industries at APIDC, he realised his entrepreneur
skills and left the service to promote Sabnife Power
Systems Limited, an Indo-Swedish joint venture for
development and production of high technology-based batteries
for Defence applications.
batteries produced by him were used in submarines, fighter
planes and missiles and were certainly of destructive
value. But, his mother Shanta had different dreams for
her son. She wished that her son should do something beneficial
for the betterment of human beings. His mother's wish
inspired him to promote Shanta Biotech in 1992
with an objective of developing recombinant-based therapeutic
proteins for health care. The mission was to produce most
cost effective drugs to reach the common man at affordable
prices with international quality standards. Shanvac-B
vaccine against Hepatits-B virus was developed by in-house
R&D wing of Shanta Biotech and was introduced into
the market in 1997.
Reddy, who is a member of IETE (Institute of Electronics
and Telecommunications Engineers) and AIBA (All
India Biotechnology Association), has received many
awards and honours. While he was in DERL, he received
Rastrapathi Tamrapatra Award for his innovative
design for up-linking IFF & SSR Radars in 1974. In
1986, Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce
and Industry (FAPCCI), presented him the Best Exporter
Award. American Telugu Association felicitated him
in 1998 for his outstanding research in the field of Biotechnology.
In the same year, Institute of Public Enterprises (IPE)
presented Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. In
the year 2000, he was conferred with Entrepreneur of
the Year of Ernst & Young for Healthcare and
Apart from being an electronic engineer and entrepreneur,
Mr. Reddy is a literary critique and good at playing the
veena. He was awarded Best Literary Criticism
Award from Andhra Saraswatha Parishad in 1972.
Married to Vasantha in 1973, he is blessed with
two daughters. For Mr. Reddy, his mother Shantha is the
'The first Guru in every aspect of life'.
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