Akzo Nobel developing human H5N1 vaccine
Development of the vaccine-which is still in its early stages-is taking place at Nobilon in conjunction with Akzo Nobel's human healthcare business, Organon.
The company's animal health business, Intervet, already supplies an avian flu vaccine which is used to inoculate birds. ?The current situation in Europe highlights the urgent need for a human vaccine against this potentially lethal infection,? said Toon Wilderbeek, Akzo Nobel's Board Member responsible for Pharma. ?We are active on a number of fronts regarding the production of human and animal vaccines to counter this particular threat and the combined expertise we have throughout the company is proving invaluable.?
Nobilon recently received European Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) approval to begin producing human influenza vaccines for use in clinical trials. The approval means that Nobilon-which was set up by Akzo Nobel in 2003 to develop and commercialize human vaccines-is now licensed to manufacture flu vaccines to be used in clinical testing, with the first trials scheduled to start in 2006.
Clinical trials for the H5N1 vaccine will also be scheduled for next year. Operating from a state-of-the-art facility in Boxmeer, the Netherlands, Nobilon employs a novel vaccine production system which uses advanced cell culture technology, as opposed to the traditional method of using commercial embryonated chicken eggs.
The company also has the capability to upscale vaccine production to meet any increased future demand. So in the event of a pandemic avian flu outbreak for example, once Nobilon's H5N1 vaccine has been approved, the company's cell culture production could be used to mass produce vaccines immediately.
Added Wilderbeek: ?In partnership with Organon, Nobilon is working as quickly as possible to develop a pure, safe and efficacious human H5N1 vaccine of consistent quality. So the recent GMP approval means that as well as testing our human vaccines against conventional forms of flu, we can also concentrate on developing a vaccine which will protect people against the bird flu virus should it be transmitted to humans.?
Akzo Nobel, based in the Netherlands, serves customers throughout the world with healthcare products, coatings and chemicals. Consolidated revenues for 2004 totaled EUR 12.7 billion. The Company currently employs some 62,000 people in more than 80 countries. The financial results for the third quarter will be published on October 19, 2005.
Nobilon International BV, part of Akzo Nobel, is a biotechnology company committed to bring to market human vaccines for combating infectious diseases in mankind. Nobilon strives to discover, develop, produce and commercialize human vaccines, as well as actively pursuing collaborations with others in the sector to bring innovative human vaccines to market. Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Boxmeer, the Netherlands where its state-of-the-art cell-culture, multi-purpose production facilities are situated, Nobilon draws on the know-how and expertise of Akzo Nobel's sister companies Organon and Intervet. Internet: http://www.nobilonvaccines.com
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This press release may contain statements which address such key issues as Akzo Nobel's growth strategy, future financial results, market positions, product development, pharmaceutical products in the pipeline, and product approvals. Such statements, including but not limited to the ?Outlook?, should be carefully considered and it should be understood that many factors could cause forecasted and actual results to differ from these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, price fluctuations, currency fluctuations, developments in raw material and personnel costs, pensions, physical and environmental risks, legal issues, and legislative, fiscal, and other regulatory measures. These factors also include changes in regulations or interpretations related to the implementation and reporting under IFRS, decisions to apply a different option of presentation permitted by IFRS, and various other factors related to the implementation of IFRS, including the implementation of IAS 32 and 39 for financial instruments. Stated competitive positions are based on management estimates supported by information provided by specialized external agencies. For a more complete discussion of the risk factors affecting our business please refer to our Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, a copy of which can be found on the Company's website akzonobel.com.
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