BiondVax expands manufacturing capabilities for universal flu vaccine

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Monkeybusinessimages)
(Image: Getty/Monkeybusinessimages)

Related tags Biondvax Flu Influenza Flu vaccine

BiondVax moved into a new facility with an increased capacity of 40 million doses per year ahead of potential approval for its universal flu vaccine.

BiondVax’s newly completed facility will cover 20,000-square-feet of space, with completed project housing offices and laboratories, alongside its manufacturing spaces. It announced last year that it had leased the space​ to construct the facility in Jerusalem, Israel.

The plant will produce M-001, BiondVax’s candidate to immunise against the influenza virus. The new facility now has the potential capacity to produce 40 million doses of M-001 per year.

A spokesperson for BiondVax explained to us why current vaccines need to be improved upon: “The flu virus mutates frequently and unpredictably, and currently marketed flu vaccines are built using educated guesses about the following season's circulating flu strains. These vaccines only target up to four specific existing flu strains, and their average vaccine effectiveness is only about 40%.”

The spokesperson further explained how the company’s universal flu vaccine could improve on this rate of success, “M-001 universal flu vaccine candidate consists of nine flu virus epitopes that are conserved and common to flu strains,  i.e. it is designed as a 'common denominator' to all flu strains. Following six completed successful clinical trials, and an ongoing NIH-sponsored Phase II trial in the US, M-001 recently began a pivotal Phase III clinical trial. If successful, a universal flu vaccine will provide effective protection against current and future, seasonal and pandemic influenza strains.”

Though the new space is able to produce 40 million doses per year, BiondVax anticipates the need to bring in a partner to cope with the potential commercial demand should its vaccine candidate receive approval in “major markets”​, the spokesperson stated.

The facility was constructed through investment by the European Investment Bank and Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry, with the former supplying a loan of €20m ($23m). The spokesperson did not reveal how much BiondVax had invested of its own capital into the new space.

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