According to information published in many news sources, including this Reuters article:
U.S. health officials awarded $97 million to Sanofi Pasteur on Friday for the vaccine maker to buy new technology that could cut influenza vaccine production time in half.
The contract comes on the heels of a chaotic flu season that started with a vaccine shortage but later left health officials scrambling to redistribute unused supplies.
The shortage, triggered by the suspension of manufacturer Chiron Corp.'s British license in October, spurred long lines early in the season of people most at risk from flu. Others, discouraged by the wait, gave up trying.
The disruption was worsened by dated technology that uses certain types of eggs to grown the vaccine, Department of Health and Human Services officials have said.
Each egg makes one dose and must be incubated for months, and most eggs are only kept on a seasonal basis to make the shots.
The new award gives Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine unit of the European drugmaker Sanofi Aventis funds to transition to a new cell-based method that grows the vaccine in lab dishes.
Researchers from the University of Michigan said earlier this month that the new method could cut production times in half to about two months.
Under terms of the contact, Sanofi will manufacture experimental and inactive flu vaccine using cell cultures that will then be tested in clinical trials, the department said.
The award also calls for the vaccine maker to build a U.S.-based manufacturing plant capable of producing at least 300 million doses using the new method.