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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic; Now tracking the Aussie Flu.

Swine flu vaccine a boon for Baxter

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rickster58 View Drop Down

Joined: March 09 2009
Location: Sydney
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    Posted: July 16 2009 at 4:21pm

Swine flu vaccine a boon for Baxter

By Bruce Japsen | Tribune staff reporter
2:46 PM CDT, July 16, 2009

Worldwide demand for a swine flu vaccine is developing into a boon for Baxter International Inc.

On a day the Deerfield-based medical product giant reported a 13 percent boost in second-quarter profits, Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Parkinson said the company's plant in the Czech Republic was running at capacity as it works to fill orders for 80 million dosages from five countries.

Baxter shares jumped nearly 3 percent, or $1.41 a share, to $54.50 in Thursday afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Baxter has all the work it can handle and expects production of vaccines to combat the H1N1 virus to continue indefinitely, particularly as strains mutate.

"There will be demand for whatever we will be able to produce," Parkinson told Wall Street analysts on a conference call to discuss company earnings Thursday morning.

Baxter said it would begin shipping dosages of swine flu vaccine around the world by the end of this month. Baxter could reap $30 million to $40 million in revenues from H1N1 contracts, but Parkinson cautioned Wall Street analysts against altering Baxter's earnings forecasts.

Baxter's vaccine orders do not include the U.S., which announced this week it was working with other manufacturers that are already developing seasonal flu products and have more capacity. Baxter has said it continues to talk to U.S. health officials.

Baxter has a newer cell-based manufacturing technology that does not require processing vaccines with chicken eggs and can cut production times by several weeks. Because its vaccine technology is new, Baxter has not yet been approved to sell a seasonal product in the U.S. and tends to generate revenue from countries looking to stockpile vaccines to combat pandemic threats.

"While this is a significant opportunity for Baxter, it is premature to get ahead of ourselves for the next five months of the year," Parkinson said

Baxter, which also makes blood therapies and drug delivery devices, reported net income of $587 million, or 96 cents a share, compared to $544 million, or 85 cents, in the year-ago period. Sales declined 2 percent to $3.1 billion due to the impact of foreign exchange. Otherwise, sales would have been up 8 percent.

"We continue to meet or exceed short-term financial goals," Parkinson said. "These results and outlook validate the strength of the diversified health care model."

U.S sales rose 7 percent to $1.3 billion, while sales outside the country fell 8 percent to $1.8 billion due to the impact of foreign exchange.

Baxter continues to reap the benefits of its blood-clotting drug Advate, which is used for hemophilia patients. Such drugs are part of Baxter's bioscience business, which reported a 2 percent increase in sales to $1.4 billion. Excluding foreign currency, such sales jumped 13 percent, "reflecting strong double-digit gains across several core franchises," the company said in its earnings report.

Comment No mention of being caught distributing 72kg of live H5N1 virus to unsuspecting countries.
How is it that big pharma is allowed to be both the devil (developing bioweapons) and saviour  (coming up with a vaccine)? 
Who are these guys answerable to?
Can someone please tell me why they have not been held accountable for their actions? 
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