Baxter Continues Collaborations With Global Health Authorities to Advance Pandemic Preparedness
DEERFIELD, Ill., February 07, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Baxter International Inc. announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Indonesia to provide a framework for future discussions and negotiations related to any formal collaboration or supply agreements for pandemic vaccine. No definitive agreements have been signed between Baxter and the Government of Indonesia.
The Memorandum of Understanding does not give Baxter exclusive or proprietary access to Indonesian virus strains, nor prevent Baxter or the Indonesian government from collaborating with other public or private entities on the avian influenza problem.
"Baxter is committed to supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) and health authorities around the world in global pandemic planning," said Joy A. Amundson, corporate vice president and president of Baxter's BioScience business. "This Memorandum of Understanding is consistent with our efforts to advance technology that has the potential to offer a greater level of flexibility and responsiveness for what may be a rapidly changing or emerging situation. We believe that this represents an important opportunity to advance global pandemic planning efforts and ensure that a country that is at the epicenter of this emerging situation has access to a vaccine that could potentially protect its citizens."
Baxter has been working closely with WHO and their four collaborating centers in the United Kingdom, the U.S., Japan and Australia to access newly emerging influenza viruses, which the company has used in development of its candidate pandemic vaccine. Baxter has shared and continues to share information about its research and development of a candidate pandemic vaccine with WHO and global health authorities.
"We urge the Government of Indonesia to share its virus strains and sequencing data," said Kim C. Bush, president of Baxter's vaccines business. "We also encourage WHO and other companies to continue their discussions with Indonesia in order to ensure that the interests of the global community and individual countries are effectively balanced."
Baxter is collaborating with a number of countries in the development and production of candidate pandemic vaccine. In 2006, the company received a contract from the National Health Service in the United Kingdom to produce 2 million doses of candidate H5N1 vaccine for that country's preparedness stockpile. Late last year, Baxter entered into a preparedness contract with the Austrian Ministry of Health, which provides that government the option to purchase 16 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine. And the company is collaborating in a contract with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to develop a cell culture-based H5N1 candidate pandemic influenza and seasonal influenza vaccines.
Baxter's pandemic development work to date has focused on an inactivated wild-type whole virus vaccine. The company recently completed and announced preliminary results from a Phase I/II clinical trial conducted in Europe and Asia of its candidate H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccine, which suggested the vaccine is well tolerated in humans and may provide wider cross protection for a larger number of people before and during a pandemic. This represented the first clinical evaluation of a cell-based H5N1 vaccine, and the first clinical demonstration that a candidate H5N1 vaccine can induce antibodies that neutralize widely divergent strains of H5N1 virus.
Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, assists healthcare professionals and their patients with the treatment of complex medical conditions, including hemophilia, immune disorders, cancer, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma and other conditions. The company applies its expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to make a meaningful difference in patients' lives.
CONTACT: Media, Deborah Spak, +1-847-948-2349, or Thomas Kline,+1-847-948-2251, or Investors, Mary Kay Ladone, +1-847-948-3371, or ClareTrachtman, +1-847-948-3085, all of Baxter
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Posted: February 2007