Intercell pulls Ixiaro batch on potency questions

Austria's Intercell has recalled a batch of its only marketed product, a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis, because of possible potency problems, Reuters reports. The shot, Ixiaro, has been sold since 2009, and the company says it sees no ongoing problems with its supply. The recall affects some 5,000 doses in the U.K. and three European countries.

"We saw that for this specific lot, towards the end of its shelf life the potency has dropped all of a sudden and this could lead to a situation where possibly the vaccine would not be as effective," CEO Thomas Lingelbach told Reuters.

Lingelbach says he still hopes for 60 percent to 70 percent growth in sales of Ixiaro this year, thanks in part to increased use by the U.S. military. The cost of the recall will be less than €100,000, he said.

Intercell has had its share of problems lately. It has hit roadblocks in two of its major development programs, including a potential vaccine for travelers' diarrhea. Problems with that research program touched off a companywide restructuring, and CEO Gerd Zettimeissl resigned abruptly earlier this month. Lingelbach, formerly COO, took the reins May 10.

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