by VR Sreeraman on  July 24, 2009 at 12:53 PM Drug News
 GSK Claims of Making 'Rapid Progress' on Swine Flu Vaccine
British pharmaceuticals group GlaxoSmithKline is making "rapid progress" on producing a swine flu vaccine that will be ready by September, it said Wednesday.

GSK also revealed in a second-quarter results statement that it had received contracts for 195 million doses of A(H1N1) vaccine, adding that it would triple production of its Relenza medication by the end of the year.

"Following more than 10 years of investment in research and development of pandemic influenza vaccines, and the successful registration of its pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccine, the company is making rapid progress to produce an A(H1N1)" vaccine Glaxo said in a statement.

"GSK has also significantly increased production levels of its anti-viral influenza treatment Relenza and developed an innovative respirator mask, designed to protect the wearer from inhaling airborne influenza virus."

It added: "So far, GSK has received orders for 195 million doses of the vaccine and first supplies of the vaccine will be available to governments from September onwards.

"Shipments are expected in both 2009 and 2010 and the pace of delivery will be dependant on capacity and the yield of the influenza strain."

Glaxo would increase production of oral spray Relenza to 190 million doses per year by the end of 2009, it added. Relenza is an alternative to the Tamiflu tablets that are manufactured by Swiss rival Roche.

Neither drug cured swine flu but they are being used to reduce the impact of the virus. They are being stockpiled by governments around the world in preparation for a sharp rises in cases during autumn and winter.

GlaxoSmithKline also revealed Wednesday that net profits soared 11.6 percent to 1.461 billion pounds (1.689 billion euros, 2.401 billion dollars) in the three months to June 30, compared with the same period of last year.

Revenues meanwhile advanced 15 percent to 6.75 billion pounds in the reporting period.

"During the quarter, we saw the emergence of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza as a global pandemic threat," said Chief Executive Andrew Witty in the results statement.

"GSK has made substantial investments of more than 2.0 billion dollars to develop and manufacture vaccines and treatments for influenza.

"Since the outbreak of the virus, we have committed additional investment to increase production levels of Relenza and effectively develop a new adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine," he said.

Source: AFP

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