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Chiron collars PowderJect

09-Jul-2003

Chiron's has completed its $888 million (€782m) acquisition of UK vaccine and drug delivery specialist PowderJect, at a stroke becoming the second-largest manufacturer of influenza vaccines worldwide behind Aventis Pasteur.

The offer was declared unconditional on 7 July after Chiron acquired just under 90 per cent of PowderJect's share capital.

"By leveraging PowderJect's existing infrastructure in the US flu market, Chiron will be able to build on its platform for new products, including our portfolio of meningococcal vaccines that are in development," said the US firm in a statement.

Chiron originally made overtures to PowderJect last autumn, but the UK firm rebuffed its advances on the grounds that the offer made was too low. With the takeover, Chiron gets its hands on Fluvirin, PowderJect's top-selling product, and a fast track into the US flu vaccine business.

The USA has seen significant growth in flu vaccination of late, following the US government's lowering of the threshold for free vaccination from 65 to 50. This helped Fluvirin sales surge 40 per cent to £158 million (€227m) last year.In tandem with its vaccines business, PowderJect is developing both disposable and reusable needle-free injector system for drugs that can be formulated as a powder.

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