The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a six-year, $226 million contract to increase capacity to produce recombinant influenza vaccine in the United States. Sanofi Pasteur, with headquarters in Bridgewater, NJ, will receive the money to modernize its ability to develop recombinant vaccine technology, which can produce new vaccines faster than traditional egg-based technology.
The contract is in accordance with the Sept. 19 presidential executive order to enhance national security and the public health by modernizing influenza vaccines and technologies.
The work will take place through a public-private partnership between the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and Sanofi Pasteur.
In a release dated Dec. 9, the company said the agreement will allow it to expand and retain domestic recombinant influenza vaccine capacity, and retrofit vaccine manufacturing facilities in Swiftwater, PA. When the project is completed, it will double the company’s recombinant protein-based influenza vaccine manufacturing capacity in the United States. As a result of this agreement, Sanofi Pasteur could provide nearly 100 million doses of recombinant influenza vaccine for use during a pandemic.
This is good news for those of us who worry about a global pandemic akin to the 1918 “Spanish Flu” that took millions of lives around the world.