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Washington, DC (June 14)-The US Department of Health and Human Services awarded two contracts totaling $132.5 million to Sanofi Pasteur and MedImmune to retrofit their influenza vaccine manufacturing facilities.
Washington, DC (June 14)-The US Department of Health and Human Services awarded two contracts totaling $132.5 million to Sanofi Pasteur (Lyon, France) and MedImmune (Gaithersburg, MD) to retrofit their influenza-vaccine manufacturing facilities. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group (Paris), received a $77.4-million contract and plans to contribute an additional $25 million, and MedImmune was awarded $55.1 million and plans to contribute an additional $14 million. The overall project includes design, retrofit, and facility maintenance so that the companies can switch to pandemic influenza vaccine manufacture upon a request from the government.
Sanofi plans to begin the design phase immediately, with the retrofit starting as soon as the new influenza-vaccine manufacturing facility is operational and licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration. The company’s existing facility will be phased out and decommissioned for the retrofit. Once both facilities are validated, the company’s capacity will increase threefold.
The contracts are part of HHS’s Pandemic Preparedness Plan, which was issued in November 2005 and outlines public-health preparedness and response activities for an influenza pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, 1–2.3 billion hospitalizations and 280,000–650,000 deaths could occur in the next influenza pandemic in industrialized nations alone. HHS hopes to stockpile enough prepandemic influenza vaccine for 20 million people.