Advisory group urges swift swine flu vax approval; Sanofi-Aventis snaps up India's Shantha in $783M deal;

Swine Flu

A federal advisory group is recommending that the FDA approve new swine flu vaccines for sale before it has its hands on clinical trial data. "I think this is an entirely appropriate way of proceeding and in the public health's best interest considering that schools will be opening in a month," said John Modlin, the panel chair and a professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth- Hitchcock Medical Center. Report

AstraZeneca says that it is looking at an alternative to its FluMist technology for administering a new swine flu vaccine now in development. The company says that it may look at using drops or some other technology to deliver the vax in order to make more of it rapidly available to the general public. Story

Healthcare workers, pregnant women and people suffering from asthma and diabetes are likely to be at the front of the line for the fall swine flu vaccination campaign. Report

Vaccine Market

Earlier this week, Sanofi-Aventis announced that it had struck a deal to buy a 78 percent stake in India's Shantha Biotechnics for $783 million. Shantha supplies vaccines to a variety of countries around the globe. Report

Sanofi-Aventis says that net sales shot up 11.2 percent in the second quarter, in part because of the growing vaccine market it serves. "The group delivered very strong results in the second quarter, driven by solid growth of key pharmaceutical brands and vaccines, strong sales in emerging markets and recent acquisitions," said CEO Christopher Viehbacher (photo). Story

Vaccine Research

The University of Rhode Island has won a $13 million federal grant for its vaccine research work. "The objective, actually, is to get some of this basic research into the clinic, to go from 20 years for making a vaccine to, perhaps, 5. And that's why I love it," said Dr. Annie De Groot. Story

GenVec has garnered $2 million from the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative for its malaria research work. Report