February 6, 2006

Sanofi Says Produces More Bird Flu Vaccine for US

NEW YORK -- French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis has completed production of an additional $50 million worth of bulk-concentrate vaccine against the H5N1 strain of bird flu for the U.S. government, the company said on Monday.

Sanofi said the stockpile broadens a $100 million contract it signed in September with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will be used to support U.S. Department of Defense requirements.

Sanofi's experimental vaccine is the most advanced among a number in development against the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which scientists fear could trigger a global flu pandemic.

Sanofi said it also shipped 15,000 investigational doses of bird flu vaccine to the U.S. National Institute of Health to be used in clinical studies to determine the optimal formulation.

The investigational doses include the use of an adjuvant to increase the vaccine's effectiveness, potentially allowing a greater number of doses to immunize more people.