Baxter hopes to build U.S. cell-based vaccine manufacturing plant

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Baxter International Inc. says it is looking into building a cell-based vaccine manufacturing plant in the U.S. to produce seasonal and pandemic flu vaccines, the Chicago Tribune reported Nov. 26

The company won't say when a plant could be built because the timing would depend on the outcome of a government-funded clinical trial of its seasonal product, which is in its final stages. A timetable will be clearer when the company can determine the success of its seasonal and pandemic flu vaccine development program.

Baxter is the latest drugmaker to express interest in the potentially lucrative business of producing vaccines in the U.S.

Although companies historically have complained of little profit from flu vaccines, increased government subsidies are making the business more attractive. And Baxter's cell-based technology would speed up the production time.

Drugmakers are building or considering vaccine plants as capacity issues stymie governments worldwide, causing shortages and rationing of vaccines for seasonal and pandemic viruses.