The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a partnership with Novartis in Holly Springs to create a center that will develop and manufacture medical countermeasures to improve the government’s ability to respond in emergencies. Novartis is one of three new partnership centers recently announced by the government.
“Establishing these centers represents a dramatic step forward in ensuring that the United States can produce life-saving countermeasures quickly and nimbly,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release. “They will improve our ability to protect Americans’ health in an emergency and help fill gaps in preparedness so that our nation can respond to known or unknown threats.”
Novartis’s contract with the government, valued at about $60 million over the first four years, involves working with North Carolina State University and Duke University.
The center at Novartis, along with two other new centers, will be able to bring new vaccines or medicines to the market faster, and help train the biopharmaceuticcal workforce, the press release said.
A variety of products will be able to be developed and manufactured quickly enough to respond to large-scale emergencies, including bioterroism, pandemic influenza and other epidemics, the press release said.
The centers, including the one at Novartis, will be able to domestically produce a quarter of the nation’s pandemic influenza vaccine within four months of the onset of a pandemic, the press release said. It added that, in 2009, only one company’s manufacturing facilities for producing a vaccine for H1N1 was solely in the United States.
“Our good friends at Novartis continue to grow,” said Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears. “The latest expansion signifies how important that company is not only to our country but certainly to our town.”
Media contacts at Novartis did not respond to requests for interviews.