WHO clears Crucell to put vax back on market

Crucell can exit the penalty box. After a review of manufacturing problems involving its vaccine Quinvaxem, the Dutch company now has the World Health Organization's blessing to resume selling the shot. "WHO is confident that Crucell is operating according to good manufacturing practices," the agency said in a statement.

Crucell stopped making the combination childhood vaccine--designed to protect against five diseases--after power failures in Shingal, South Korea, caused contamination at its plant there. The company also stopped making its Hepavax-Gene vaccine against hepatitis B.

The WHO reprieve comes at an auspicious time for Crucell--and for Johnson & Johnson, which agreed to buy the company for €1.75 billion ($2.4 billion) just before the manufacturing problem emerged. J&J had been saying that it would lower its buyout bid if conditions at the troubled plant warranted. Now, as the Wall Street Journal reports, some holdout Crucell shareholders say they'll tender their stakes in the company, and the deal looks increasingly likely to come through.

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