Flu contracts in hand, Solvay and others mull facility investments

Five manufacturers received government contracts last week to develop new flu vaccines to counter the threat of a potential pandemic. Solvay's contract was the largest at nearly $300 million, and the firm is mulling locations for a new facility. Georgia and Minnesota are two leading contenders, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Baxter and DVC were jointly given a contract for its plans to develop cell culture-based technologies, widely seen as an important step to overcoming the constraints of egg-based vaccine development. With a full-scale production facility already up and running in the Czech Republic, Baxter will play an important role in meeting the goverment's short-term goal of stockpiling 20 million dosages of a cell-based vaccine, and long-term goal of 300 million dosages. GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Novartis AG also received contracts. -- PWT