Sector News

Seqirus to spend $140M, add 120 jobs in N.C. flu vaccine plant expansion

November 21, 2018
Life sciences

Seqirus has big plans for its cell-based flu vaccine franchise, and after a scale-up to reach 20 million doses this year, the company still needs more capacity. The vaccine maker has unveiled a $140 million expansion to its Holly Springs, North Carolina, manufacturing plant as it aims to take the vaccine global.

The expansion will add 120 jobs to the site that Seqirus’ parent company, CSL, acquired from Novartis in 2015, allowing it to create the flu vaccine specialist. Six hundred employees already work there.

As traditional flu vaccines have faced efficacy questions over the last year, alternatives have garnered increasing attention. Officials in the U.K. previously endorsed Seqirus’ adjuvanted Fluad for adults over 65, and European experts last month recommended cell-based Flucelvax for approval. If Seqirus secures that approval by the end of year as expected, the company would market the shot as Flucelvax Tetra in Europe starting in the 2019-2020 flu season.

When CSL purchased Novartis’ vaccines outfit and formed Seqirus back in 2015, the Holly Springs plant was making just 3 million doses of cell-based vaccine per year. This flu season, Seqirus plans to produce and distribute 20 million doses of Flucelvax in the U.S. and the company has said it has capacity for 40 million doses next year to support new launches. The expansion, which is expected to be complete by 2020, will further boost capacity for global markets.

Cell-based vaccines have garnered increasing interest after traditional egg-based flu shots faced efficacy questions last season. Last year, flu vaccines were 40% effective overall in the U.S., according to the CDC. In October, Seqirus presented an analysis of data from 12 flu seasons showing that H3N2 flu vaccine strains derived from cells better matched circulating strains than the vaccine strains made in eggs.

At the time, Seqirus president Gordon Naylor said egg-based vaccines remain the “backbone of the industry,” but he envisions newer alternatives gaining steam and potentially taking over the market. That would depend on continued positive efficacy data, increased manufacturing scale and support from the medical community, Naylor said.

By Eric Sagonowsky

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

January 29, 2023

Colorcon, Inc. signs Put agreement with intent to acquire controlled atmosphere packaging specialist Airnov Healthcare Packaging

Life sciences

Airnov provides critical healthcare industries with high-quality, controlled atmosphere packaging, to protect their products from moisture and oxygen. The business has manufacturing facilities in the USA, France, China and India and employs around 700 people.

January 29, 2023

Takeda pledges up to $1.13B for rights to Hutchmed’s cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China

Life sciences

Takeda of Japan has partnered with Hong Kong-based Hutchmed, gaining the commercial rights to colorectal cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China for $400 million up front, plus $730 million in potential milestone payments. Takeda also will help develop fruquintinib, which can be applied to subtypes of refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, regardless of biomarker status, the companies said.

January 29, 2023

Vir taps Bayer dealmaker Marianne De Backer as its next CEO

Life sciences

On April 3, Scangos, who’s been chief executive officer at Vir since the start of 2017, will hand over the reins to Marianne De Backer, Ph.D. De Backer comes over from Bayer, where she currently heads up pharmaceutical strategy, business development and licensing. Alongside her CEO appointment, De Backer is set to join Vir’s board of directors, the company said Wednesday.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach