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Taiwan: Adimmune and Valneva team up for cell-based vaccine


(Source: Taipei Times 2014-8-13)

Vaccine maker Adimmune Corp yesterday said it had formed a cooperation with France-based Valneva SE, which makes antibodies and vaccines, to produce 600,000 vials of cell-based Japanese encephalitis vaccine per year in Taiwan starting in 2017.

“The cooperation was set up in response to the government policy to replace traditional Japanese encephalitis vaccine used in Taiwan with a cell-based one starting in 2017,” Adimmune chief financial officer Vic Chang told reporters.

Chang said Adimmune applied for a drug permit for Valneva’s vaccine in June and expects the application to be approved next year.

Once it is approved, Adimmune will apply to the government to make the vaccine at its factory and expects to receive approval in 2016, Chang said.

Traditional Japanese encephalitis vaccine is priced at NT$100 (US$3.3) per vial in Taiwan, while the cell-based one sells for 55 euros (US$73) per vial in Europe and the US, Chang said.

About 600,000 people receive Japanese encephalitis vaccine shots a year in Taiwan, most of whom are children, Chang said.

The government imported the vaccine from South Korea last year and this year, but Adimmune will start supplying the government next year before Valneva’s vaccine is approved, Chang said.

Valneva is the largest Japanese encephalitis vaccine maker around the world with drug permits in more than 35 nations, including the US and the EU, Adimmune said.

Meanwhile, Adimmune also received a permit to sell its trivalent adjuvanted influenza vaccine in Taiwan early this month, the company said, adding that this should help shorten the time to acquire a drug permit for the same vaccine in Europe.

The firm submitted the application to sell trivalent adjuvanted influenza vaccine in Europe to fill the gap left by its downstream partner, Dutch-based biotech company Crucell NV, after Crucell exits the market next year, Chang said.

Adimmune plans to sell 5 million to 7 million vials of flu vaccine in Europe a year, it said.

The company yesterday reported that it posted a profit of NT$16.8 million, or NT$0.09 per share, last quarter, compared with a loss of NT$141.15 million, or NT$0.77 per share a year ago, and a loss of NT$149.15 million, or NT$0.82 per share, a quarter ago, it said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

However, for the full year, the company still expects to post a loss of less than NT$2 per share this year — a sharp improvement from a loss per share of NT$3.25 last year, it said.

Chang said the company is likely to swing to the black in 2016, after it starts shipping its flu vaccine to Europe and China, and making enoxaparin sodium injections, which are used to prevent blood clots, for China-based Shenzhen Techdow Pharmaceutical Co Ltd.

Chang said Adimmune has completed all the procedures for selling split-virion influenza vaccine in China and it is just waiting for Beijing’s approval, which might come before the end of the year.

Adimmune will start to manufacture the shots for Techdow in August next year, Chang said.

“We need to have a high sales figure for us to swing to the black because we book depreciation costs of NT$300 million a year,” company spokesman Peter Pan said.

More Information on Taipei Times