GE Healthcare, Novavax To Develop Pandemic Influenza Solution

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GE Healthcare announced a collaboration agreement to develop and market a pandemic influenza vaccine manufacturing solution for selected international countries. This collaboration leverages GE Healthcare's bioprocess solutions and design expertise and Novavax's virus- like particle (VLP) and manufacturing platform.

Health planners around the world are looking to increase manufacturing capacity and vaccine stockpiles to counter the threat of a global avian flu pandemic: the global demand for pandemic influenza vaccine has been reported as possibly approaching 13 billion doses, with current world capacity at best 2.4 billion doses.

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"This collaboration is a great first example of GE Healthcare realizing its strategy of enabling affordable and safe vaccine production for countries that need to better prepare for emerging infectious diseases," said Peter Ehrenheim, President and CEO, GE Healthcare Life Sciences.

Novavax's VLP-based H5N1 pandemic flu vaccine is currently in Phase I/IIa clinical trials. The goal is that any required recombinant vaccine could be produced in cell culture within 12 weeks of identification of a pandemic strain, without using eggs or live influenza virus -- as little as half the time compared with currently available processes.

Commenting on the collaboration, Dr. Rahul Singhvi, President and CEO of Novavax said, "This collaboration is a critical milestone in addressing one of the most pressing global healthcare issues of the 21st century. We believe the combination of these technologies will enable the creation of a country's rapid response supply and self-sufficiency in pandemic flu vaccine."

GE Healthcare's new ReadyToProcess portfolio of ready-to-use systems and devices is designed to increase speed, simplicity and safety for all areas of bioprocessing, including the time it takes to build and validate a facility. With Novavax's VLP and manufacturing platform, the intention is that it could enable commissioning of a new facility from scratch in approximately two and a half years, half the time for a traditional egg-based vaccine production facility, and at a potential capital reduction of approximately 60 per cent.

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