Meridian Announces Manufacturing Agreement with Hawaii Biotech, Inc. to Produce Vaccine for Dengue Fever
CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 10, 2003--Meridian Bioscience, Inc., (Nasdaq:VIVO) today announced the signing of its second biopharmaceutical manufacturing agreement for the Company's life science production facility located at Viral Antigens, Inc., Memphis, TN (VAI), a wholly-owned subsidiary. Hawaii Biotech, Inc. has selected VAI to manufacture and supply bulk polyvalent recombinant subunit vaccine for dengue virus 1-4. The bulk vaccine for human clinical studies will be produced in VAI's new facility designed for the production of recombinant proteins and antibodies for use in therapeutic agents and vaccines.
Dengue fever is expanding globally and is found in tropical and subtropical areas, particularly Southeast Asia, South America, and the South Pacific. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization estimate that there are 50 million to 100 million cases of dengue infection world-wide annually with more than 20,000 deaths.
Hawaii Biotech has developed its dengue vaccine using proprietary technology based on the production of recombinant antigens from the Drosophila cell expression system. The vaccine has been developed in order to confer protective immunity in humans to all four dengue viruses simultaneously. Any of the four viruses can cause dengue fever; however, immunity to less than all four increases the likelihood of mortality from the more severe forms of dengue in subsequent infections.
Richard Eberly, General Manager, Meridian Life Science commented, "We are excited to work with Hawaii Biotech as its manufacturing partner for the production of dengue vaccine. The combination of Hawaii Biotech's vaccine development technologies with VAI's biopharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities will increase the likelihood of this important vaccine reaching the global markets for the prevention of dengue fever."
John A. Kraeutler, President and COO, Meridian Bioscience, stated, "This manufacturing partnership with Hawaii Biotech is another key milestone towards the Company's strategic commitment to the Life Science industry. Through its capabilities in protein expression, process development and biological reagent distribution, Meridian is well poised to enable and accelerate biotech development with its partners and customers."
David Watumull, CEO and President, Hawaii Biotech, commented, "HBI is excited about bringing its dengue vaccine to the threshold of use for prevention of dengue fever. HBI's union with VAI will facilitate our goals and will allow us to expand HBI's core competency into other vaccine markets."
Meridian is a fully integrated life science company that manufactures, markets and distributes a broad range of innovative diagnostic test kits, purified reagents and related products and offers biopharmaceutical enabling technologies. Utilizing a variety of methods, these products provide accuracy, simplicity and speed in the early diagnosis and treatment of common medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal, viral, urinary and respiratory infections. All Meridian products are used outside of the human body and require little or no special equipment. The Company's products are designed to enhance patient well-being while reducing the total outcome costs of healthcare. Meridian has strong market positions in the areas of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory infections, serology, parasitology and fungal disease diagnosis. In addition, Meridian is a supplier of rare reagents and specialty biologicals. The Company markets its products to hospitals, reference laboratories, research centers, veterinary testing centers and physician offices in more than 60 countries around the world. The Company's shares are traded through Nasdaq's National Market, symbol VIVO. Meridian's website address is www.meridianbioscience.com.
CONTACT: Meridian Bioscience, Inc.
John A. Kraeutler, 513/271-3700
SOURCE: Meridian Bioscience, Inc.