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Home > City Resources > Health and Medicine > Koduru Varaprasad Reddy

Mr Varaprasad ReddyFrom 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 & Communication.

Scientist and entrepreneur with aesthetic  senseVaraprasad 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.

View of Shanta Biotech The 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.

Shanvac-B vaccineVaraprasad 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 Life Sciences.

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'.

Read more on 'Shanta Biotech'
-Mohan G Jagan

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