With all the talk of the bird flu, the swine flu, and any other oddly named pandemic, our nation has become a little leery of anything that starts with a H1N… But, with this latest announcement our government has made you can rest assure in the event of a pandemic or a bioterrorist attack, our nation is going to be ready! As the U.S. government has just announced that they have hired two of the world’s largest drug manufacturers to combat against all these nasty bugs, as well as any potential bioterrorist agents!
A U.S.-based Emergent Biosolutions Inc will also receive funds and work with U.S. universities and smaller biotechnology companies at one of three centres to develop and manufacture the medicines.
GlaxoSmithKline will be part of a $176 million five-year contract in Texas, Novartis will head a $60 million four-year contract in North Carolina, and Emergent will work on a $163 million eight-year contract in Maryland.
The government contracts can be renewed for up to 25 years and will be overseen by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority within HHS.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the partnership to ensure enough critical medicines – such as protection against pandemics like influenza or biological attacks like anthrax – are manufactured within U.S. borders.
“We anticipate that together, the centres will be able to produce a quarter of a nation’s pandemic influenza vaccine within four months of the onset of a pandemic,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS.
In 2009, only one H1N1 vaccine maker had facilities that were located only in the United States, she said.
The money will also aim to help smaller biotech companies turn their ideas into successful products.
The bulk of the government’s initial $400 million contract will go towards maintaining or expanding manufacturing facilities to make sure they can make several different medicines, and easily switch from one medicine to another in case of an emergency.
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