FDA approves new flu vaccine from GSK

The Food and Drug Administration has approved FluLaval, a new seasonal influenza vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

The FDA´s approval of FluLaval Thursday boosts the country´s expected flu vaccine supply for the 2006-07 influenza season to about 115 million doses.

FluLaval, which joins four other FDA-approved seasonal flu vaccines, is for use in people 18 and older, except those who are allergic to eggs and chicken proteins.

With a wholesale price of about $10 a dose, FluLaval was licensed under the FDA´s accelerated approval program.

GlaxoSmithKline, which also makes flu vaccine Fluarix, added FluLaval to its vaccine portfolio when it acquired ID Biomedical Corp., a Quebec, Canada, manufacturer, in December 2005. GlaxoSmithKline of Research Triangle Park, N.C., will distribute FluLaval.

The company expects to produce between 25 million to 27 million flu vaccine doses this season, Jennifer Armstrong, a company spokeswoman, said.

"We are expanding our seasonal flu vaccine offerings to include FluLaval, and we are investing heavily in new technologies and facilities to develop tomorrow´s vaccines to protect people from both seasonal and pandemic flu," said Chris Viehbacher, president of U.S. Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline.

Other flu vaccine suppliers are: Sanofi Pasteur, which makes Fluzone; MedImmune Vaccines, which makes FluMist, a nasal spray vaccine; and Novartis Vaccine, which makes Fluvirin.