Novartis just says 'no' to free swine flu vaccine
Posted: June 15, 2009.
Updated: Today at 11:14 a.m.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — With swine flu now an official pandemic, the race is on among drugmakers to produce a vaccine.
However, Novartis (NYSE: NVS) is saying no to a World Health Organization request for free vaccines.
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), which operates its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park, has already said it would give away 50 million doses of vaccine.
Novartis' chief executive told the Financial Times that developing nations or donor nations should cover costs.
Said Daniel Vasella: “If you want to make production sustainable, you have to create financial incentives.”
Novartis produces first batch of swine flu vaccine; GSK continues research
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) said Friday it has successfully produced a first batch of swine flu vaccine weeks ahead of expectations.
However, it's not being made - yet - at the new vaccine plant the company is building in Holly Springs. It's being produced in Germany.
The vaccine was made in cells, rather than grown in eggs as is usually the case with vaccines, the company said.
"Novartis has successfully completed the production of the first batch of influenza A(H1N1) vaccine, weeks ahead of expectations,"Novartis said in a statement.
The 10-litre batch "will be used for pre-clinical evaluation and testing and is also being considered for use in clinical trials."
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), meanwhile, says it continues to test potential vaccine candidates and foresees availability of a product within four to six months.
"In addition to increasing production and supply of the anti-viral medication, Relenza, the company continues to focus efforts on the development of a candidate A (H1N1) adjuvanted influenza vaccine," GSK said in a statement Friday.