December 28, 2006

Sanofi pasteur has completed production of more than 170 million doses of influenza vaccine, making it the largest contributor to this year's global supply, the company said.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) estimated global production of influenza vaccine is 350 million doses. Sanofi pasteur contributed nearly half of that, the company said Dec. 20, adding that its 170 million doses are a record for yearly seasonal influenza vaccine production.

Since 2003, sanofi pasteur's manufacturing capacity for the influenza vaccine has increased by more than 40 percent, and sales of the vaccines have more than tripled since 1995, according to the company.

This year, the company provided the U.S. with more than 50 million doses of influenza vaccine, more than it had originally projected.

Sanofi pasteur began building a new manufacturing facility in the U.S. in 2005. The new plant is expected to start producing vaccines for the 2008-2009 season and will double production capability in the U.S., the company said.

According to the WHO, influenza causes between 300,000-500,000 deaths every year and 3 million to 5 million cases of severe illness around the world.

Last month, sanofi pasteur received a $117.9 million contract from HHS to make 3.7 million doses of pre-pandemic bird flu vaccine for the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile.