More than $1 billion awarded to find faster flu vaccine

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The Department of Health and Human Services awarded more than $1 billion in contracts to five companies to develop flu vaccine using a method that could get the products faster to market. Nursing home residents are considered one of the most vulnerable populations during the flu season.

The contracts awarded were as follows: London's GlaxoSmithKline plc ($275 million), MedImmune Inc. of Gaithersburg, MD ($170 million), Switzerland's Novartis AG ($221 million), DynPort Vaccine Co. of Frederick, MD ($41 million), and Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Marietta GA ($299 million).

Companies will use the money to develop and test cell-based vaccines. This type of production is an alternative to traditional egg-based flu vaccine production. The vaccines will protect against seasonal flu and pandemic flu.

For more information, visit http://www.pandemicflu.gov.