CSL pays $275m to acquire Novartis’ flu vaccines, three manufacturing sites

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

The acquisition makes CSL the second largest vaccine company in the world
The acquisition makes CSL the second largest vaccine company in the world

Related tags Influenza vaccine Flu vaccine

CSL Limited has agreed to acquire Novartis’ flu vaccine business for $275m (€216m), which includes manufacturing facilities in the US, UK and Germany.

The resulting company, which will combine Novartis and CSL’s existing vaccines and pharmaceutical subsidiary, bioCSL, will create the second largest vaccine company in the $4bn global flu industry.

Through the acquisition, CSL gains manufacturing sites in in Holly Springs, North Carolina, Liverpool, UK and Marburg, Germany. The three sites will complement CSL’s Parkville facilities in Melbourne, Australia, which CSL says will play a key role in the global manufacturing network of the combined business.

The acquisition will more than triple our capacity with the addition of first-class manufacturing facilities, increase the global footprint of bioCSL to more than 40 countries, and provides us with a diversified portfolio of influenza products covering all ages.  We expect the deal to be accretive in 2-3 years with annual sales approaching $1bn over the next three to five years​,” CSL spokeswoman Natalie DeVane told BioPharma-Reporter.com.

Like bioCSL, Novartis is currently transitioning its three-strain (trivalent) influenza vaccine brands to four-strain (quadrivalent) formulations through a multi-year clinical program. This includes an adjuvanted influenza vaccine for both elderly and paediatric populations.

Novartis in September began shipping its flu vaccine​, which was produced for the first time in cell culture rather than chicken eggs at the Holly Springs site, which has a capacity of 50m seasonal doses of flu vaccine. This is also the second time since April that Novartis has sold off parts of its vaccine business​, with the previous sale going to GlaxoSmithKline.

With regard to the vaccine shipments that began in September – there will be no impact, and we will be working with Novartis for a seamless transition​,” DeVane added.

The combined company anticipates FY2015 Northern Hemisphere sales of ~22 million doses, compared with 18 million doses in FY2014.

The combined business will continue to in-license and distribute a broad range vaccines and specialty pharmaceuticals, and produce blood typing reagents for local use. It will also continue to manufacture anti-venoms and Q fever vaccine as the world’s only supplier of these uniquely Australian medicines.

bioCSL is absolutely focused on its critical role as Australia’s onshore supplier of influenza vaccine, which underpins its pivotal position in both the nation’s influenza pandemic preparedness and swift seasonal responses to influenza​,” bioCSL’s General Manager John Anderson said.

While the global scope of our business will expand significantly, bioCSL remains committed to the reliable and timely supply of vaccines and pharmaceutical products in Australia​,” he added.

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