Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Baxter: First dosages of swine flu vaccine produced

Baxter International Inc. on Wednesday said it has completed production of the first batches of its swine flu vaccine and will begin enrolling people in clinical trials for testing the product later this month.

The Deerfield-based medical-products giant would not say how many dosages it has produced so far. Last month, Chief Executive Bob Parkinson said the company's plant in the Czech Republic was running at capacity as it fills orders for 80 million dosages of the vaccine to combat the H1N1 swine flu virus.

Baxter vaccine orders for five countries do not include the U.S., which last month announced it was working with other manufacturers that are developing seasonal flu products and have more production capacity. Later this month, Baxter said, it will begin the clinical trial process of its swine flu vaccine that will involve testing 1,000 people.

"In all countries, decisions to administer the vaccine will be determined by local public health authorities," Baxter said in a statement.

Baxter has a newer, cell-based manufacturing technology that does not require processing vaccines with chicken eggs, which can cut production times by several weeks. Because the technology is so new, Baxter has not been approved to sell a seasonal vaccine in the U.S. and instead has generated sales from countries looking to stockpile vaccines to combat pandemic threats.