NCBiotech: NC Packs the Vax (Vaccines) - Tucson News Now

NCBiotech: NC Packs the Vax (Vaccines)

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SOURCE NCBiotech

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blame it on today's globe-hopping lifestyle.

Travelers are increasingly bringing what once were considered third-world diseases -- dengue fever and chikungunya, for example -- to backyards near you.

Fortunately, one American hot spot is leading the world in vaccine technologies. The next time you catch some scary news about unusual outbreaks, flu deaths, pandemics or bioterrorism, you can consider North Carolina your best hope for health.

North Carolina is the world vaccine leader. This top-tier bioscience state goes viral when vaccines are the topic.

For example, if dengue, chikungunya, West Nile and about 200 other mosquito-carried viruses have you concerned, Raleigh-based Arbovax has a platform for that. The clinical–stage vaccine developer is connecting with investors to make dengue its first target. From there, the sky's the limit.

North Carolina is also home to two of the world's most advanced vaccine manufacturing factories, built in part by the federal government to be first responders when bad bugs hit.

Vaccines from the billion-dollar Novartis cell culture facility in Holly Springs are one example. Its egg-free Flucelvax flu vaccine, produced without antibiotics or preservatives, was just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Nearby, Medicago's RTP vaccine factory is part greenhouse. It grows viral-like particles in tobacco leaves. Fast. It aced a test for the federal government by producing 10 million doses of flu vaccine in one month.

In all, N.C. has 28 vaccine companies employing 13,000 people in development and/or manufacturing. A big reason it's such a vax magnet is its renowned workforce training. It includes biomanufacturing "classrooms" with industry-standard stainless steel vats and piping and custom-designed curricula that even the FDA uses to teach its own inspectors.

The state's awesome vax pack includes big firms like Biogen Idec, Fujifilm Diosynth, DSM, GlaxoSmithKline, Greer Laboratories, Grifols, Merck, Pfizer and Zoetis. 

And there's a wide range of nimble, smaller players with fascinating technologies like the Arbovax platform, to tackle not only viral infections but cancer as well. Companies like Argos Therapeutics, Heat Biologics, Pique Therapeutics and Soy Meds.

North Carolina's vaccine prowess will be on display from the North Carolina Pavilion at the BIO International Convention June 23-26 in San Diego.

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