Microbix teams with China on vaccine plant

More evidence that Asia is the place to be these days: Canada's Microbix Biosystems is plotting a $200 million flu vaccine plant in Hunan province. The cooperative deal puts Microbix in partnership with the Hunan government, which will put up $100 million of the funding. The rest will come from Microbix's licensing partners.

Considering the growing importance of Asian markets, the steady drumbeat of avian flu news, the fact that flu viruses tend to emerge first in Asia, and the burgeoning vaccine market worldwide, Microbix could find itself perfectly positioned when the plant is up and running in 2013. The plant will be capable of churning out 100 million doses of flu vaccine annually using Microbix's proprietary Virusmax technology, for which it garnered a Chinese patent last month.

In a funny little quirk, the deal includes a "token of goodwill and friendship" for the Chinese people onsite: a full-scale replica of the birthplace of Dr. Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who became a hero in China for his medical work with the communist army resisting Japan in the late 1930s.

- check out the Microbix release
- see the Canadian Press article