CSL to buy flu vaccine business

Melbourne-based biotech manufacturer CSL has agreed to buy Novartis’ influenza vaccine business for $US275 million ($312 million).

CSL said in a statement that the business will be combined with its subsidiary, bioCSL to create the second largest vaccine company in the global influenza industry. It will have manufacturing plants in the US, UK, Germany and Australia; and have strong pre-pandemic and pandemic capabilities

“This will transform bioCSL’s existing influenza vaccine business, giving us first class facilities, global scale and product and geographical diversity,” said bioCSL’s General Manager, Dr John Anderson.

“bioCSL is absolutely focused on its critical role as Australia’s onshore supplier of influenza vaccine, which underpins its pivotal position in both the nation’s influenza pandemic preparedness and swift seasonal responses to influenza,” he said.

The combined business will continue to in-license and distribute a broad range vaccines and specialty pharmaceuticals, and produce blood typing reagents for local use. It will also continue to manufacture anti-venoms and Q fever vaccine as the world’s only supplier of these uniquely Australian medicines.

“While the global scope of our business will expand significantly, bioCSL remains committed to the reliable and timely supply of vaccines and pharmaceutical products in Australia,” Anderson said.

Earlier this year, CSL decided to build a new, $500 million plant in Switzerland rather than Australia.

At the time the company said it had short-listed four countries, including Australia, for the plant, but chose Switzerland due to factors including its lower corporate tax rate and government assistance.

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