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Swiss OK Novartis Swine Flu Vaccine From Cells

From Associated Press (November 13, 2009)

BASEL, Switzerland (AP)--Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said Friday it has received regulatory approval in Switzerland for a swine flu vaccine produced using cell cultures instead of egg-based methods.

The company last week received its first national approval in Germany for the vaccine, which is marketed under the name Celtura.

With demand high because of the pandemic, companies are trying to find a more efficient way of producing swine flu vaccine than the slow method of cultivating seed virus in chicken eggs.

Still, the vast majority of swine flu vaccines are produced in eggs, so the availability of more cell-based vaccine is unlikely to significantly boost global stocks in the short term.

Cell-based technology has previously been licensed in Europe for the production of seasonal flu vaccines, Novartis said.

Celtura has been submitted for approval in Japan, it said.

Posted: November 2009