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September 28, 2005

MedImmune gets NIH pandemic flu vaccine collaboration pact

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- MedImmune Inc. said Wednesday it signed an agreement to collaborate with the National Institutes of Health in developing investigational pandemic influenza vaccines. Under the agreement, MedImmune scientists will work with researchers from the

Laboratory of Infectious Diseases to produce and test versions of MedImmune's attenuated, live intranasal flu vaccine for use against different types of potential pandemic influenza strains, including one based on H5N1, a strain of avian influenza.

MedImmune will use its proprietary reverse genetics technology to develop the

pandemic vaccines. The technology will allow MedImmune and NIAID researchers to

alter potentially harmful portions of influenza viruses, such as the

hemagglutinin protein of the H5N1 virus strain, and to rapidly produce

attenuated vaccine strains, thereby accelerating vaccine production. In the

interest of public health, MedImmune has also offered licenses for its reverse

genetics technology to U.S. and international health authorities and other

vaccine manufacturers developing pandemic influenza vaccines.

"As a U.S.-based influenza vaccine manufacturer, MedImmune is committed to

working with public health agencies such as the NIH in preparation for a

pandemic emergency," said James F. Young, Ph.D., president, research and

development. "With the occurrence of several avian or 'bird' influenza cases in

Asia this year, the development of a pandemic vaccine is a proactive step toward

protecting the health of our nation. An intranasal pandemic vaccine may help

facilitate and expedite influenza vaccinations for more Americans in the event

of a pandemic outbreak."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory

Committee on Immunization Practices, possible advantages of attenuated, live

influenza vaccine include its potential to induce a broad mucosal and systemic

immune response, its ease of administration, and the acce

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Posted by dymaxion at September 28, 2005 12:15 PM

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