China has ordered 7.3 million doses of H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine from two domestic manufacturers: 3.3 million does from Sinovac (SVA) and 4 million doses from Hualan Biological Engineering Inc. Both companies received SFDA approval of their vaccines this week. All 7.3 million doses must be delivered by September 15. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The government intends to hold the flu vaccine in a stockpile, rather than making it available immediately.
Sinovac could produce a total of 5 million doses of its vaccine by October 1; its annual capacity is between 20 and 30 million doses. Sinovac previously reported an order of 4 million doses from the Beijing government. Hualan said it has the ability to manufacture 13 million doses by October 1.
In August, Health Minister Chen Zhu said China has the capacity to make enough vaccine for 65 million people by the end of the year.
Also, China granted emergency approval for Relenza (zanamivir), a GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) drug that is both a prophylaxis and treatment for influenza A and B. Relenza is approved in Hong Kong and much of the rest of the world. In the US, it was given emergency use authorization for A1N1 flu.
Simcere (NYSE: SCR) owns the exclusive right to market Relenza in China and several other Asian countries. It has its own version of the drug in clinical trials, though there is speculation that Simcereâ€™s version may also receive emergency authorization for use against the A1N1 strain of flu during the winter season.