Fujifilm becomes part of U.S. pandemic defense with deal for Kalon Biotherapeutics

Japan's Fujifilm has completed the purchase of not quite 50% of vaccine specialist Kalon Biotherapeutics, making it a key player in the U.S. pandemic defenses.

Fujifilm bought the stake from the Texas A&M University System where Kalon was founded in 2011. What Fujifilm is paying for its 49% share was not disclosed. When the deal was announced in October, Fujifilm said it may buy the rest of Kalon in the future, assuming certain milestones are hit. The unit becomes part of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

Kalon's facilities include high containment manufacturing which could be used not only for the production of vaccines for influenza, but also other viruses like anthrax and Ebola. Fujifilm is currently testing an influenza drug as a treatment for Ebola. Kalon uses mobile cleanrooms and Fujifilm says up to 20 MCRs can be installed at the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing facility, where Kalon is a subcontractor, so that work could be done on several types of vaccines concurrently.

Kalon has been working with the university and with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) on a new $91 million, government-backed vaccine plant in College Station, TX. The 100,000-square-foot Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Facility is being built by GSK and the university with support from the U.S. government. It is expected to be finished at the end of 2016, with start-up and validation in early 2017. A smaller, viral-based vaccine facility is being designed and will be constructed next to the pandemic vaccine facility. The center is one of three national centers that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is helping fund, with the understanding that they would provide vaccines for pandemics if called upon by HHS.

- here's the announcement