US HHS awards influenza contracts worth US$215m

Novavax and VaxInnate to develop VLP and recombinant influenza vaccines, respectively

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded two contracts worth US$215m for the development of recombinant influenza vaccines.

Novavax of Rockville, Maryland will receive $97m over the first three years, which can be extended for an additional two years, for a total contract worth $179m.

HHS has awarded a separate contract to VaxInnate of Cranbury, New Jersey for $117.9m over the first three years, which can be extended for two additional years, for a total contract value of $196.6m.

Under its contract, Novavax will develop new technology to produce vaccines using insect cells to express influenza proteins and create virus-like particles that stimulate an immune response in humans.

VaxInnate is developing a recombinant influenza vaccine technology based on combining influenza and bacteria proteins to stimulate strong immune response to protect against influenza.

Through these contracts, both companies will conduct clinical safety and efficacy studies and optimise and validate their manufacturing processes, which are needed to obtain licensing from the US FDA in order to use the new technologies in manufacturing flu vaccine in the US.

The HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response are also supporting these contracts.

In a separate announcement, Novavax has agreed to licence its recombinant virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine technology to LG Life Sciences in South Korea.

LGLS will fund clinical development and licensure of influenza VLP vaccines in South Korea and other countries, and build a new manufacturing facility with a capacity of 30 million doses at LGLS’s Osong campus in South Korea.

Novavax will receive upfront and milestone payments from LGLS in addition to double-digit royalty payments from commercial sales.

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