Sanofi chief pleased with H1N1 vax production

Production of H1N1 vaccine at two U.S. Sanofi-Aventis facilities is "working optimally," according to Sanofi-Aventis CEO Chris Viehbacher (photo). Speaking to reporters this week at a company-sponsored biotech event in Cambridge, MA, Viehbacher maintained that Sanofi is happy with the pace of production and added that the company is the only one "producing reliably right now," Reuters reports.

Sanofi had shipped 14 million doses by the end of October and hopes to have shipped an estimated 75 million doses to the U.S. market by late December, Viehbacher said Tuesday. The company's facilities in Swiftwater, PA are the only sites producing the vaccine in the U.S. and are using roughly 300,000 eggs a day, he added.

Sanofi has a 40 percent market share globally for the seasonal flu vaccine. Viehbacher said the company should get EU approval "fairly shortly" to sell the Panenza vaccine for H1N1, which is similar to the U.S. variety, in four European countries. Approval for the Humenza adjuvanted variety for broader distribution would probably come in mid-December, he said.

Meanwhile, Sanofi Pasteur, the company's vaccine unit, reported results Wednesday from U.S. trials of its influenza A vaccine in adults and children.

Study data confirm the immunogenicity and safety profile of the vaccine, with no serious vaccine-related adverse events reported during the 42 days of follow-up in the two trials, according to a Sanofi release.

- check out the Sanofi Pasteur release
- read the Reuters story