BTA 0.00% 57.0¢ biota holdings limited

gsk plays its card

  1. cpg
    3,625 Posts.

    We all know the deal now. [email protected] Hope we sue the pants off them.

    ''GSK in talks with Blair on bird flu vaccination''

    By Robin Pagnamenta, Healthcare Industries Correspondent

    GLAXOSMITHKLINE, the pharmaceuticals group, is in talks with the Government about a countrywide vaccination against an outbreak of pandemic bird flu.

    J.P. Garnier, the company’s chief executive, is understood to have met Tony Blair and Gordon Brown this month. Among other issues, they discussed the possibility of stockpiling tens of millions of doses of a new vaccine against the H5N1 strain of bird flu developed by the company. This month Switzerland became the first country to order enough pandemic flu vaccine made by GSK to protect its entire population — 7.5 million people.

    The Times has learnt that GSK has recently reached a similar deal with the Government of Singapore and is close to signing a contract with France.

    GSK’s vaccine has not yet received regulatory clearance but the company expects to file for approval with the European Medicines Agency by the end of the year.

    The Government is considering its options but is thought to be worried about the cost of vaccinating the UK’s entire population of 60 million. There are also concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine. It has been shown to offer protection against the H5N1 avian flu virus but its potency against a possible new, mutant strain is unknown.

    The Government is also thought to have discussed vaccination with Baxter Pharmaceuticals of the US, which has developed a rival vaccine.

    The Department of Health said: “Pre-pandemic vaccines are one of a number of options we are considering. We already have a stockpile of 14.6 million treatment courses of antivirals, and we are stockpiling around 3.5 million doses of H5N1 vaccines. However, we continue to review our planning options, including pre-pandemic vaccines.

    “We continue discussions with manufacturers on their vaccine development plans, but we cannot comment on discussions with specific companies.”

    GSK’s vaccine uses a small quantity of active ingredient, boosted by a substance known as an adjuvant. This should allow it to stretch supplies to provide for mass immunisation.

    GSK has also discussed the possibility of a mass vaccination programme with the US Government, although no imminent decision is expected.

    The World Health Organisation gave warning this month that global production capacity for seasonal flu vaccine stands at 350 million doses, far short of the expected demand in a pandemic, when there would probably be calls to vaccinate the entire 6.7 billion world population.

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