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FluMist rights go back to MedImmune.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- MedImmune Inc. has retained complete marketing rights to the FluMist franchises from Wyeth. The two had been partners in the distribution of the vaccine.

"We are pleased to have completed our discussions with Wyeth on these matters," says David Mott, president and chief executive officer. "Wyeth's exit from the collaboration for FluMist returns all rights to the vaccine's franchise to MedImmune; we look forward to transitioning activities from Wyeth and implementing our development and commercialization plan."

"Our expectation is that the foundation we are now building with FluMist and CAIV-T [MedImmune's next generation of the vaccine] will help us achieve our goal of reaching $2 billion in revenues by 2009."

Revenues for this year are expected to range from $1.11 billion to $1.15 billion.

Analysts indicate that Wyeth's decision to drop its rights to the product stems in part from its expense, its storage requirements (it has to remain frozen) and its restricted indications (it cannot be prescribed for young children or the elderly).

In the most recent season 900,000 doses of FluMist were sold, but half were reportedly returned because of lack of demand, giving MedImmune only $31 million in first quarter revenue for the vaccine. By contrast, some analysts had pegged eventual annual sales of about $1 billion.

But results of two recent clinical trials could reverse that situation. The findings, released at a meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, concur that a new version of the vaccine is as safe--as well as more effective--than the standard shot.

MedImmune's new version reportedly addresses the issue of storage requirements as well as restrictions on its indications. The company may seek to have it licensed for expanded use in young children within the next three years.

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Title Annotation:Biotechnology; MedImmune Inc.
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 24, 2004
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