Happy Days in Holly Springs: Novartis Awarded Up to $500 Million for Flu Vaccine Plant

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded Novartis Vaccines a contract for up to a half-billion dollars over eight years to support the building and startup of a flu vaccine facility in Holly Springs, North Carolina.

The facility will be tasked with providing pre-pandemic vaccine, as well as capacity for 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of the start of a pandemic. Manufacturing will be cell culture-derived, seen as a clear advance over egg-based vaccines.

While the deal was not a surprise, Novartis COO Joerg Reinhardt exhibited a severe case of understatement in saying, "I am delighted that Novartis Vaccines' facilities in Holly Springs will be able to support the US Government's ability to respond quickly to a potential pandemic, as well as contribute to America's vaccine infrastructure for seasonal flu."