Protein Sciences halts Connecticut expansion in response to governor's use of rival flu shot

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy

Flu vaccine maker Protein Sciences may be abandoning its expansion plans in Connecticut, opting instead to build out its New York-based manufacturing site. But it's not for any of the reasons one might expect.

The Meriden, CT-based company last week called off its negotiations to buy two local properties after Gov. Dannel Malloy received a flu shot from a foreign competitor, Executive Chairman Dan Adams told Meriden's The Record-Journal.

"That really hurt us that the governor blew us off like that," Adams told the newspaper. "We're not going to grow in Connecticut, it's just too embarrassing."

While Protein Sciences has received millions in federal dollars to put toward its cell culture vaccine Flublok, it's looking for state backing and support for its products, too, The Record-Journal notes. Its egg-free production process is considerably quicker than traditional methods, but it still holds just a small corner of the market.

Executive Chairman Dan Adams--Courtesy of Protein Sciences

The company is hoping a manufacturing ramp-up may help it grab a bigger piece of the pie. Adding an 80,000-square-foot space would have allowed it to produce 10 million to 15 million doses of the vaccine annually, Adams told The Record-Journal. And once it gets that expanded capacity, it'll be able to drop its $32 Flublok price tag, Protein Sciences' reps have said.

In the meantime, Connecticut officials are now working to make amends to see that that happens locally, The Record-Journal reports. The commissioner of the state's Department of Economic and Community Development has reached out to speak with Adams and company CEO Manon Cox in a move Adams called "a positive sign."

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