The Institute started functioning as Pasteur Institute of Southern India, on 6th April 1907 and the Institute took a new birth as the Pasteur Institute of India (registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act 1860) and started functioning as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi from the 10th of February, 1977. The affairs of the Institute are managed by a Governing Body. The Institute is functioning on no profit no loss basis.
The death of a young English lady Lily Pakenham Walsh, due to hydrophobia in the year 1902, who could not get antirabies treatment in time, led to the establishment of Pasteur Institute of Southern India. Mr. Henry Phipps, American Philanthropist donated to Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India a sum of Rs.50.00 lakhs for the development of Medical Institutions, out of which, a sum of Rupees one lakh was allocated to start the Pasteur Institute of Southern India at Coonoor.
The cool and equitable climate led to the choice of Coonoor as the most suitable location for the construction of the Institute. Spread over an area of 16 acres of land the Institute is situated on a grassy knoll on the upper reaches of Coonoor town amidst beautiful surroundings with lush greenery, manicured lawns and flower gardens.It has a glorious tradition of single minded dedication to alleviate the suffering of humanity by its contribution to the research and development of vaccines in the country.