Industrial sites compete for new Novartis plant
Pharmaceutical firm Novartis AG will soon build a new $400 million
flu vaccine manufacturing plant.
It is expected that the pharmaceutical company will shortly announce further
details of the plan.
Officials with Novartis recently toured a
lakefront site in Research Triangle Park and a site at Treyburn Corporate Park
in north Durham in North Carolina, USA. Officials in Maryland and Georgia say
Novartis representatives also have toured sites around eastern Baltimore County
in Maryland and in Athens, Georgia.
The vaccine plant would produce a
cell-based influenza vaccine that could be used in case of an avian flu
outbreak. Competition between sites is high, because the plant would employ
Novartis announced it would build a $400 million
plant in the US shortly after it was awarded a $220 million contract on May 5
from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The contract is to develop
technology for speedier mass-production of flu
GlaxoSmithKline, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune Inc and
DynPort Vaccine Co also have been awarded government contracts for flu vaccine
production, bringing the total US investment to $1 billion. Sources say
officials representing Georgia-based Solvay Pharmaceuticals also have looked at
sites in North Carolina for a vaccine manufacturing
Novartis plans to develop a cell-based version of the flu
vaccine that can be produced quicker than the traditional method using chicken
eggs. Its plant in Germany is already producing the new version of the vaccine,
but the US government contract requires that the company also operate a plant in
the United States.
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