Protein Sciences expands flu vaccine operations to Pfizer site

Protein Sciences will lease two buildings at Pfizer's ($PFE) Pearl River, NY, site to create a production line for its recombinant influenza vaccine Flublok.

The 83,000-square-foot expansion on the 550-acre campus will add about 50 full-time jobs, a number that could grow to 150 over the next decade, The Journal News reports. Empire State Development, the state's economic development agency, will contribute $2 million in tax credits to encourage the creation of 100 net new jobs by the end of 2017, and to maintain those levels over the next 10 years.

Connecticut-based Protein Sciences is crossing its fingers for an FDA approval of Flublok. The regulatory agency will likely make a decision on the vaccine by mid-January. Flublok uses no actual flu virus, meaning patients don't run the risk of developing flu from the jab. And the vaccine is not made with eggs like most flu vaccines, so people with egg allergies can safely receive the injection.

Protein Sciences will inhabit a manufacturing space once used by Wyeth--a company that Pfizer purchased in 2009 for $68 billion--to produce a vaccine. The lease is a welcome change for the Pearl River site, which has seen layoffs and cutbacks since 2010 as Pfizer attempted to improve the economics of the buyout.

"With Flublok approval around the corner, the company anticipates significant growth," Manon Cox, Protein Sciences CEO, said in a statement. "New York state and local government have provided invaluable assistance that is enabling our expansion in Pearl River. We hope that support from the Connecticut government follows suit and allows us to expand in our home state as well."

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