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One of the most significant deals to take place in the vaccine industry in the last ten years was signed LATE LAST NIGHT * JULY 2, 2007 * between vaccine heavyweight Novartis and biotech firm Intercell. Through the agreement, Novartis gains access to over ten vaccine projects currently making up Intercell's portfolio, as well as exclusive access to Intercell's super-adjuvant IC31 to develop improved flu vaccines.
Intercell will receive an upfront payment of €270m (€120m in license an option fees and €150 cash contribution through the purchase of 4.8 million shares), with potential milestone and royalty payments leading to multi-billion Euro revenues according to the Austrian firm.
***Not only is this Intercell's biggest deal to date, but the two companies claim it is a major landmark in the vaccine industry:***
January 15, 2009 16:00 CET US Department of Health and Human Services awards Novartis USD 486 million contract to build manufacturing facility for pandemic flu vaccine
* Holly Springs, North Carolina site will have capacity to provide 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of declaration of influenza pandemic
* Novartis novel cell-based manufacturing technology vital alternative to traditional egg-based vaccines production * Commercial production of pre-pandemic and seasonal flu vaccines planned after completion in 2012 *
Plant to provide 300 highly skilled jobs at opening Basel, January 15, 2009 -- Novartis announced today that the US Department of Health and Human Services, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (HHS, BARDA) has awarded Novartis Vaccines a contract for up to USD 486 million over eight years to support the design, construction, validation, and licensing of U.S. cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facilities in Holly Springs, North Carolina, to provide a pre-pandemic supply of influenza vaccine and to provide the capacity to manufacture 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of declaration of an influenza pandemic.
"I am delighted that Novartis Vaccines' facilities in Holly Springs will be able to support the US Government's ability to respond quickly to a potential pandemic, as well as contribute to America's vaccine infrastructure for seasonal flu," said Dr. Joerg Reinhardt, Chief Operating Officer of Novartis.
"We believe that this contract award underscores the US Government's commitment to ensure pandemic vaccine supply, and reflects their confidence in Novartis."
One of the other projects likely to be near the top of the two companies' target list is the development of an improved influenza vaccine.to induce the strongest immune response in humans.
So many deaths among the young and seemingly healthy, who usually fend off flu far better than infants or the elderly, has experts speculating that H1N1's lethal mechanism may be the so-called "cytokine storm."
Usually seen in ICU patients battling severe sepsis, the cytokine storm occurs when the body mounts a hyper-reactive immune response so massive it harms itself, sometimes fatally.