Microbix blueprints $200M vaccine plant in China

The swine flu pandemic has been spurring some major new ventures in the vaccine industry. In one of the latest examples, Microbix Biosystems has teamed up with China's Hunan Biopharmaceutical in a joint venture that will build the world's third largest vaccine manufacturing plant. Over the next four years the two companies plan to spend $200 million to build the facility in Changsa City, which will be able to churn out more than 100 million doses of seasonal vaccine and up to 300 million doses of pandemic vaccine in the event of an outbreak.

"We are addressing an unmet medical need in China," William Gastle, Microbix chairman and chief executive, told Reuters. "China is one of those countries that does not have enough capacity to supply its domestic population with influenza vaccines."

In the release, Microbix touted its VIRUSMAX vaccine technology as a key reason for its involvement in the plant. More than five years in development, VIRUSMAX is designed to increase influenza vaccine yields, demonstrating an average two-fold increase over current production methods. The news helped push up the value of Microbix's (MBX) shares.

- here's the Microbix release
- read the story from Reuters