Seqirus – a global leader in influenza prevention and a business of CSL Limited (ASX:CSL), – has entered into a multi-year influenza research partnership with the University of Liverpool Pandemic Institute. Under the partnership, Seqirus will participate in research projects and knowledge generation around both the threat of seasonal influenza and the development of innovative approaches to pandemic preparedness and response.
Under the terms of the agreement, the £5 million research partnership will last 5 years and see Seqirus providing financial support, research materials and scientific and technical expertise towards the development of scientific and medical advancements in seasonal and pandemic influenza prevention.
Speaking of the new collaboration, Sharon McHale, Vice President, Global Head of Policy, Advocacy & Government Affairs at Seqirus said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the incontrovertible value of research and scientific partnership to support pandemic response. The University of Liverpool is renowned internationally for research excellence and can boast over a century of discovery and translational research in infectious diseases, a field in which it is a leader. It makes absolute sense for us to build this new partnership for the next step towards pandemic preparedness from the strong base we already have within Liverpool.
Through developing epidemiological studies and prospective real-world evidence studies, the advanced research will further influenza protection and pandemic response, whilst helping to differentiate Seqirus’ capabilities and portfolio. The Pandemic Institute has complementary capabilities and through one of the founding partners, the University of Liverpool, we are able to enhance flu pandemic preparedness.”
Professor Tom Solomon, Director of the Pandemic Institute, said:
“The Pandemic Institute is committed to helping the world prevent, prepare, and respond more effectively to pandemics. With a breadth of world-leading clinical, academic, public health and data-driven expertise, we’re keen to leverage these synergies in our collaboration with Seqirus to enhance influenza protection and pandemic response. We’re delighted that our founding partner, University of Liverpool, has taken the lead on this partnership with Seqirus and we look forward to bringing our combined intelligence and resources together to generate scientific excellence with societal impact for all.”
Seqirus has had a long history of investment in Liverpool dating back to 1943. Today, the Liverpool site is the largest influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the U.K., producing over 50m doses of seasonal influenza vaccine each year and providing employment for over 800 highly skilled staff. The site is also a key part of the company’s response strategy for a potential influenza pandemic, contracted to make 200 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccines when it is needed.
Dr Raja Rajaram, Head of Seqirus Global Medical Strategy said:
“Seqirus is committed to protecting public health through partnerships such as this academic collaboration with the Pandemic Institute, through the University of Liverpool, which will allow us to expand our knowledge base through evidence generation and access breakthrough scientific and technological advancements. This moment is doubly exciting for the value it will bring to both of our organisations and especially our scientific teams based in the UK.”
About Seasonal Influenza
Influenza is a common, contagious seasonal respiratory disease that may cause severe illness and life- threatening complications in some people.1 Influenza can lead to clinical symptoms varying from mild to moderate respiratory illness to severe complications, hospitalization and in some cases, death.2 Because transmission of influenza viruses to others may occur one day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick, the disease can be easily transmitted to others.2 Estimates from the CDC report that during the 2019/20 influenza season, there were an estimated 380,000 influenza-related hospitalizations in the U.S.3 The CDC recommends annual vaccination for individuals aged 6 months and older, who do not have any contraindications.4 Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that help protect against influenza virus infection, it is recommended that people get vaccinated before influenza begins spreading in their community.5 The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated by the end of October.1
About Pandemic Influenza
Pandemic influenza, is a contagious airborne respiratory disease which is unpredictable in timing and severity.6 The risk of influenza-associated morbidity and mortality is greater with pandemic influenza than with seasonal influenza because there is likely to be little or no pre-existing immunity to the virus in the human population.7 Four influenza pandemics have occurred over the past century, with the 1918 pandemic being the most severe in recent history, estimated to have killed up to 50 million people worldwide.8 According to the CDC, a novel influenza A virus such as the highly pathogenic avian A(H5N1) strain can cause severe disease and have a high mortality rate.9 If the influenza A(H5N1) virus were to change and become easily transmissible from person to person while retaining its capacity to cause severe disease, the consequences for public health could be severe.6
About the Liverpool University Pandemic Institute Partnership with CSL's Seqirus
The new multi-year influenza research collaboration is between CSL’s Seqirus Vaccine Innovation Unit, and the Pandemic Institute, a world-leading comprehensive end-to-end institution for pandemic response, hosted by the University of Liverpool. Under the partnership, Seqirus will participate in research projects and knowledge generation around the threat of influenza and the development of innovative approaches to pandemic preparedness and response.
Under the terms of the agreement, lasting up to five years, Seqirus will provide financial support, research materials and scientific and technical expertise towards the development of scientific and medical advancements in seasonal and pandemic influenza prevention. This is the first partnership of its type for Seqirus in the UK and it will be used as a robust model for collaboration with other academic institutes and pandemic centers in the future.
About the Pandemic Institute
The Pandemic Institute is a global organisation created to prepare the world for future pandemics. Launched in 2021, the Institute is formed of seven founding partners: The University of Liverpool (Host organisation), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Liverpool University Hospital Foundation Trust, and Knowledge Quarter Liverpool.
The Pandemic Institute provides comprehensive end-to-end capabilities across the pandemic lifecycle to accelerate the global response to current and future pandemics and produce high impact outputs applicable to governments, businesses, and individuals globally.
For more information, visit thepandemicinstitute.org or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Seqirus is one of the largest influenza vaccine providers in the world and a major contributor to the prevention of influenza globally and a transcontinental partner in pandemic preparedness. With state-of-the-art production facilities in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, and leading R&D capabilities, Seqirus utilizes egg, cell and adjuvant technologies to offer a broad portfolio of differentiated influenza vaccines in more than 20 countries around the world.
About the Liverpool manufacturing site
Dating back to 1943, the Seqirus Liverpool manufacturing site is the largest of its kind in the U.K. (over 35,000 square metres) and is able to complete the entire vaccine production process from start-to-finish without any external support. More than 50 million doses of flu vaccine a year are made and shipped across the entire world. The site is also a key part of our response strategy for a potential influenza pandemic, contracted to make 200 million doses of flu vaccines when it is needed. The site employs more than 800 people.
CSL (ASX:CSL; USOTC:CSLLY) is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of medicines, including those that treat haemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL – including our two businesses, CSL Behring and Seqirus – provides products to patients in more than 100 countries and employs more than 25,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest. For inspiring stories about the promise of biotechnology, visit CSLBehring.com/Vita and follow us on Twitter.com/CSL.
For more information about CSL Limited, visit www.CSL.com.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including statements regarding future results, performance or achievements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and subject to risks and uncertainties. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
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1 CDC. (2021). Key Facts about Influenza (Flu). Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm. Accessed May 2022.
2 Reed, SG, Orr, MT, Fox, CB. (2013). Key roles of adjuvants in modern vaccines. Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3409. Accessed May 2022.
3 CDC. (2021). Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths in the United States — 2019–2020 Influenza Season. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2019-2020.html. Accessed May 2022.
4 CDC. (2021). WG Considerations and Proposed Influenza Vaccine Recommendations, 2021-22. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/downloads/slides-2021-06/03-influenza-grohskopf-508.pdf. Accessed February 2022.
5 CDC. (2021). Who Needs a Flu Vaccine and When. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinations.htm. Accessed May 2022.
6 CDC. (2016). Pandemic Basics. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/basics/index.html. Accessed May 2022.
7 WHO. (2021). How pandemic influenza emerges. Retrieved from: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/influenza/pandemic-influenza/how-pandemic-influenza-emerges. Accessed May 2022.
8 WHO. (2017). Pandemic Influenza Risk Management: A WHO guide to inform and harmonize national and international pandemic preparedness and response. Retrieved from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/259893/WHO-WHE-IHM-GIP-2017.1-eng.pdf;jsessionid=4421F16879D2F8B96481F8D0C745C7F3?sequence=1. Accessed May 2022.
9 CDC. (2015). Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza A(H5N1) in People. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h5n1-people.htm. Accessed May 2022.