Seqirus reviews its manpower needs as it integrates Novartis flu operations

Australia's CSL catapulted into the number two position among flu vaccine manufacturers when it acquired Novartis' ($NVS) flu vaccines operations last year; it's now shooting to surpass industry leader Sanofi ($SNY) in 5 to 10 years. But first, unit president Gordon Naylor needs to get operations consolidated and making money, and so the newly formed Seqirus is conducting a labor force review.

In an interview with FiercePharmaManufacturing, Naylor said the business is in a "challenging situation," as it's losing money currently, but that "the pieces are in place to turn the business around and to move toward that long term objective." The president added that the company "didn't make this acquisition in order to shut operations down" but it is reviewing all areas of the business to ensure efficiency.

Just last month, the Maidenhead, U.K.-based company announced plans to build a $21.3 million (£15.3 million) flu vaccine plant in Liverpool to add capacity.

Naylor, formerly CSL's CFO, has been involved with M&A at the Australian maker of protein-based therapies, and was tapped to lead Seqirus following its formation. He said that from previous experience integrating operations, if companies can "move the operational supply chain parts of the business to being efficient, than that actually becomes the platform for growth. There's actually a connection."

Seqirus President Gordon Naylor

CSL picked up the Novartis flu vaccines business in a $275 million deal completed last summer, getting three plants in the process. With the deal came a $1 billion cell culture plant in Holly Springs, NC, that Naylor said has "a great deal" of "unrealized potential."

With about 2,000 employees in and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Australia, Seqirus seeks to achieve "industry leadership" in the flu vaccines space.

To get there, Seqirus will rely on the launch of Fluad and quadrivalent flu vaccines in the U.S. as well as emerging markets growth, Naylor said. Seqirus has the capacity for 100 million to 130 million doses annually of quadrivalent flu jabs.

"I think it would be fair to say that Novartis did make some significant investments in flu over time," he said. "We're really, I think, in a position to take advantage of those investments and bring some quite important products to the market over the next few years."

- here's a recent Seqirus investor/analyst presentation