GlaxoSmithKline Plans Texas Flu Plant to Respond to Pandemics

GlaxoSmithKline Plc and the Texas A&M University System won U.S. approval for a $91 million flu vaccine plant that can be used to produce treatments in response to pandemics or biological attacks.

The Health and Human Services Department approved construction of the facility in the College Station, Texas, area, northwest of Houston, the company and school said today in a joint statement.

About 200 to 300 people will work in the facility, said Brett Giroir, Texas A&M’s vice chancellor for strategic initiatives, in an interview. Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, said in a statement that the facility eventually will add more than 6,800 “direct and related jobs to Texas.”

The plant would help provide quick access to vaccines or treatments in the event of an influenza pandemic or chemical, biological or nuclear attack, according to the statement. The U.S. government earned an “F” grade for biological attack response in January 2010 from a bipartisan congressional commission.

The plant has the ability to supply 50 million doses of influenza vaccine within four months of an outbreak, according to the statement.

GlaxoSmithKline, the U.K.’s largest drugmaker, provided more than 20 million flu shots for the U.S. in 2012 through its influenza vaccine centers in Quebec, Canada, and Dresden, Germany, the London-based company said in the statement.

The Texas project is an “unprecedented public-private collaboration to protect against pandemics and bio-threats,” Antoon Loomans, senior vice president of GSK Vaccines, said in the statement.

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