HHS Awards $97-Million Vaccine Development Contract

HHS Awards $97-Million Vaccine Development Contract

The US Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has awarded Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business of the Sanofi-Aventis Group (Lyon, France and Swiftwater, PA, en.sanofi-aventis.com/), a $97-million contract to accelerate the development of new cell-culture influenza vaccines in the United States.

The company’s cell-culture influenza vaccine program is based on the “Per.C6” cell-line technology of Crucell N.V., a Dutch biotechnology company. Cell culture is an emerging technology that eliminates the need to use chicken eggs for the production of influenza vaccine. Instead of eggs, the virus is grown on specially selected cell lines, a process that may cut the manufacturing time from four weeks to two or three weeks after the virus strain has been identified and could potentially lead to a more-predictable process.

The five-year agreement also will fund the design of a US-based licensed cell-culture vaccine manufacturing facility. Pasteur will deliver to HHS a feasibility plan for a production plant designed to supply as many as 300 million monovalent influenza vaccine doses per year. The award will not fund the construction of the facility.

–Maribel Rios