Flu Fighters Get HHS Funds

Several companies, including Glaxo and Novartis, receive funding to develop flu vaccines.
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The Health and Human Services Department is preparing to distribute more than $1 billion to fund several companies' efforts to develop new flu vaccines.

The HHS says the awards are part of President Bush's plan to prepare for a possible pandemic. Millions of birds have been infected with avian flu in recent months, mostly in Asia. At times, the bird flu, a strain called H5N1, has jumped to humans, and concerns about a worldwide viral outbreak have grown in recent months.

GlaxoSmithKline

(GSK) - Get Report

will get $274.8 million of funding,

MedImmune

(MEDI)

will get $169.5 million, and

Novartis

(NVS) - Get Report

will receive $220.5 million.

DynPort Vaccine, a unit of

Computer Sciences

(CSC)

, stands to collect nearly $41 million. However, Computer Sciences said the total value could reach $242.5 million.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals

is getting $298.6 million.

All of the contracts will "support the advanced development of cell-based production technologies for influenza vaccines and will help to modernize and strengthen the nation's influenza vaccine production by creating an alternative to producing influenza vaccines in eggs," the HHS says.

The funds are part of $3.3 billion the department will be using in fiscal 2006 to help prepare for a pandemic.