( MEDI) Tuesday made fighting the flu even cheaper, reducing the price of its FluMist, while announcing that

Henry Schein

(HSIC) - Get Report

would be the product's exclusive distributor.

Before the start of trading Tuesday, MedImmune cut the price of its aerosol flu vaccine to $23.50, about half of what it cost last season. The company announced that Henry Schein would handle distribution, customer service and promotion of FluMist for the upcoming flu season, with MedImmune retaining the exclusive rights to manufacture the drug and market it to pediatricians and pharmacies.

"An important new option in the ongoing fight against the most frequent cause of death in the United states from a vaccine-preventable disease, it is important that health care providers include FluMist in their arsenal of flu-prevention options for their patients," said Armando Anido, senior vice president of commercial operations for MedImmune.

FluMist, whose sales have been disappointing, was the first live, attenuated intranasal flu vaccine and was developed through MedImmune's partnership with


( WYE). On April 26, however, the two companies dissolved their collaboration, with MedImmune acquiring the rights to the drug, along with one of Wyeth's distribution plants in Louisville, Ky.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, with Wyeth receiving a large upfront payment, milestone payments as the product clears certain development, and regulatory events and royalties on FluMist sales.

Recent studies show that FluMist could have blockbuster potential. Two studies, funded by Wyeth, presented to the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting last week showed that an attenuated intranasal flu treatment like FluMist was more effective than the old-standby flu shot.