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Novartis is planning what it calls the first U.S. plant for cell-culture-derived influenza vaccines, at a site in Holly Springs, N.C. The company says construction will begin in 2007; when the plant is completed and approved for commercial production, it will have capacity to produce up to 50 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine. The plant is expected to cost $600 million, which includes a recent $220 million award from the Department of Health & Human Services (C&EN, May 8, page 22). According to Novartis, vaccine production based on cell cultures promises advantages over traditional chicken-egg-based methods.
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