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Biotech key for Mayne


Date: February 24 2005


By Stephen Bartholomeusz


Unless something goes badly wrong between now and late 2007, Brian McNamee is going to have to write Aventis a cheque for $US250 million or issue shares to that value. He'll be delighted to do so.


When CSL agreed in 2003 to acquire the Aventis Behring plasma business from Aventis for about $1 billion, McNamee negotiated a tough deal. CSL bought the business for about half its book value at a tough moment in the global plasma sector.


Whether to save face, or whether because it saw the potential in the combination of CSL's ZLB arm and Aventis Behring, Aventis negotiated a "kicker". If, in four years' time, the CSL share price was above $A28 a share, CSL would pay it another $US125 million (about $A180 million when the deal was struck); if it was above $35 a share, it would pay an additional $US125 million.


With CSL's share price now at about $32, Aventis is "in the money" on the first payment and looks odds on to get the second come 2007. McNamee won't be fussed, however, because those payments were based on outlandishly optimistic assessments of the group's prospects. At the time they were negotiated, CSL shares were trading at about $16.


McNamee boldly bet the company twice to get to the point where CSL can now clearly articulate what it is and where its future lies. The second bet, the acquisition of Aventis Behring, was made to secure the first, the acquisition of ZLB, and to give CSL the scale, diversity and market clout to help reshape a sector characterised by overcapacity and uncommercial behaviour.


The Aventis Behring bet has started to pay off spectacularly, through a combination of solid strategic thinking, hard and intelligent work, and good timing.


The removal of one of CSL's biggest competitors was always going to have an effect in the market and throw off huge synergies if well executed.


The best illustration of the former is that, with Aventis Behring, CSL acquired a huge inventory of plasma product at a $US200 million discount to its "fair value". Yesterday, it said the $US800 million inventory had been managed down by $US160 million and converted to cash against a backdrop of rising prices for plasma products. The discount is being turned into profit.


The integration is going so well CSL upgraded its estimate of the synergies released from $US100 million to $US130-$US150 million. The program is well ahead of schedule, with 88 per cent of the milestones completed, and occurring within a market in which the balance of supply and demand and pricing seem to be improving rapidly.


With hindsight, McNamee bought ZLB at the top of the market and Aventis Behring at the bottom. By doubling his bet he turned a good company operating within a horrible sector into a far stronger company operating within a more attractive environment. A company with production in Switzerland, a customer base in the US and an overexposure to a narrow range of commodity products now has a balanced production base, a broader product range and a global customer base.


CSL's cash flow rose nearly 300 per cent to almost $200 million in the half and it upgraded expectations of its full-year performance from the market consensus of $270 million to $270-$295 million.


With the result, McNamee also foreshadowed a buyback of up to 10 million shares, worth about $320 million at today's prices.


That announcement is an indication that McNamee is comfortable with the businesses he now operates and with the growth prospects created by the much-enlarged plasma business and the pipeline of products flowing from the group's heavy research and development spending.


So long as CSL is modestly geared and is generating increasing amounts of cash, McNamee doesn't need to retain balance-sheet capacity for another transforming acquisition. CSL now has the scale and global presence to be a dominant player in its niche.


While CSL seems to have achieved its goal of building a global business, Mayne Group is still a work in progress. The outline of what it could become, however, is getting clearer.


Stripped of its capital-intensive and poorly performing hospitals and its logistics activities, Mayne's core is now a high-growth, high-margin specialised global pharmaceutical business focused on generic injectables.


That core is supported by several health-related domestic businesses (consumer products, pathology and diagnostic services and a pharmacy business) that generate solid cash flows that can be invested in support of the international pharmaceutical business.


So far, the growth in pharmaceuticals has been incremental, through small add-on acquisitions. That is partly caution and partly due to the fragmented nature of the market segments Mayne is focusing on. More particularly, it is that, while it has the funds for larger acquisitions, the perennially disappointing Mayne has been on a form of probation with the market.


As its credibility grows, its ability to make the kind of big international acquisitions that created the new CSL and that would turn Mayne into a global specialist pharmaceutical group will increase.





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Australian Government secures extra flu vaccine from CSL to make up for a shortfall in available supply from Sanofi Pasteur


07 Mar 2005



Australian health authorities announced today that the Government had secured extra flu vaccine from CSL to make up for a shortfall in available supply from Sanofi Pasteur.


The Australian Government's Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Horvath, said Australia had placed orders with two pharmaceutical companies for the supply of influenza vaccine for the Influenza for Older Australians Program, but the medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), had detected a problem in the vaccine supplied by Sanofi Pasteur.


"The vaccine was not deemed to be unsafe but it failed TGA batch testing because one of the influenza strains in the vaccine was not present in as great a concentration as required by the specifications," Professor Horvath said.


"Sanofi Pasteur has been contracted to supply 35 per cent of the Government's vaccine supplies with the Australian company, CSL, supplying 65 per cent.


"The CSL product, which has been approved by the TGA, will be readily available and the Department of Health and Ageing is working to obtain sufficient stocks of vaccine for the Government's program before the influenza season," Professor Horvath said.


"I have consulted with the medical profession about this issue and expressed my confidence that all vaccines ordered under the Influenza for Older Australians Program will be supplied. However there may be short delays. GPs will be informed of likely delivery times in the next week."


Media contact: Kay McNiece, Media Adviser to the CMO - 0412 132 585


Australian Dept of Health and Aging





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The most dangerous creatures on earth


March 14, 2005


Another flu pandemic is coming, and the toll could be devastating. Tom Noble explores whether Australia is ready ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ and why scientists are watching birds in Asia with alarm.


In a nondescript building off a Parkville street lies the best hope of saving tens of thousands of Australian lives in the next influenza pandemic. The unmarked building contains a refurbished laboratory that began operating a few weeks ago to produce the 2005 influenza vaccine. Its significance is that if an influenza pandemic stemming from Asia's killer "bird flu" breaks out tomorrow, the new facility is designed to supply all Australians with an effective vaccine within three months.


The $30 million upgrade by CSL (a global, specialty biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets products to treat and prevent serious human medical conditions) and other technological preparations have slashed the time of supply from perhaps a year. Coupled with more than $133 million the Government has spent on drug stockpiles and emergency equipment, this makes Australia one of the world's bestprepared nations.


Yet it may not be enough to avoid a calamity.


Scientists agree that a flu pandemic is a certainty, the problem is no one knows when it will emerge and how severe it will be. The World Health Organisation, however, is becoming increasingly worried about cases of "bird flu" in South-East Asia and in recent weeks has stepped up its rhetoric about the potential disaster facing the planet, warning that 20 to 50 per cent of humans could catch a deadly flu.



"Whereas past pandemics have consistently announced themselves with an explosion of cases, events during 2004 ... have given the world an unprecedented opportunity to enhance preparedness," the WHO said in a statement in late-January, expressing concern at "the general lack of preparedness for an influenza pandemic".


Its fears centre on Vietnam, where a second wave of bird flu in recent months has killed more than a dozen people. Attempts to stamp out the disease in poultry and wild birds have failed. In the past eight months, the disease has also been found in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.


In 14 months, 47 people have died, most having contracted the avian disease from close contact with chickens, particularly chicken faeces. A recent victim drank duck blood. Some scientists believe it is a matter of time before the disease is caught by a human who also carries a "normal" flu virus, and the disease makes the fateful genetic change that produces a new, killer disease capable of spreading quickly between humans, with the same devastating effects that have killed hundreds of millions of birds.


That mixing of genetic material is, officially, when the pandemic begins. (A report last week that a male nurse in Vietnam had become infected after treating a bird-flu patient set pulses racing again, but there has been no subsequent spread.)


The strain would be one that has not been seen before in the global population, so there would be no natural immunity. Existing flu vaccines would be useless.


"Even in the best-case scenarios of the next pandemic, two to seven million people would die and tens of millions would require medical attention. If the next pandemic virus is a very virulent strain, deaths could be dramatically higher," the WHO said, warning that the current situation bore similarities to the 1918 pandemic, which killed an estimated 40 million people.


Ian Gust, director of the WHO collaborating centre on influenza in Melbourne, said the "thing that frightened people" was the high kill rate of the bird flu. "(The 1918) Spanish flu had a 2 per cent fatality rate, but the current disease ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ even allowing for misdiagnosis and missed cases ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ is greater than 50 per cent. That gives people a shiver up and down their spines," said Gust, a Melbourne University professor and former research director at CSL. He says scientists are also troubled that the disease has appeared to move to different species and caused silent infections in animals close to man, such as cats.


There is also deep concern about recently diagnosed symptoms. One four-year-old boy who succumbed to the disease had severe diarrhoea, fever, and seizures before falling into a coma and dying. The virus was found in the diarrhoea, sparking concerns a pandemic could spread through faeces in crowded, unsanitary living conditions.


Yet the fears about bird flu may not come to fruition. Despite the WHO's warnings, some scientists are unconvinced anything will happen in the near future, or even that the bird flu will be the cause of the next influenza pandemic. Even if it does, the genetic changes may make it far less deadly in humans than it is in chickens. Simply, no one knows.


Commonwealth chief medical officer John Horvath, who will lead the fight against a pandemic in Australia, is not convinced a new strain is imminent, yet last year recommended the Federal Government spend more than $133 million to prepare.


"This is one of the conundrums of government ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ how much does it invest in an area that may not happen ... if in five years' time if we haven't used anything, a new minister may say, `They wasted all that money, they didn't know what they were doing'. Well, that's life. But if we don't spend the money and have a huge epidemic this year, we'd be criticised."


Graeme Laver, a flu pioneer whose work helped create the current range of anti-viral drugs, is among those who questions whether bird flu will cause the next pandemic. "The only thing you can predict about the flu is (that) most predictions are wrong," he says. "The Government is putting a lot of money into something that may never happen. But to be ill-prepared is probably the worst thing we could do."


The next flu strain, says Laver, could be like the 1890 pandemic, a highly contagious strain ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ records showed 30 per cent of Londoners went down with the disease ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ that killed few people. A bird flu from Asia would be different story. "If it mutates and has human transmissibility, the world is in for a bad episode. It appears to have 70 per cent mortality rate. If it affects just 10 per cent of the population, you can imagine how much damage it would cause."


Last century there were three pandemics: 1918's Spanish flu (a misnomer, it originated in the United States) and those of 1957 and 1968, both of which started in Asia. Each pandemic was less severe, although each caused massive amounts of illness, social and economic disruption, and affected different groups of the population ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ 1918's flu, for example, which hit Australia in early 1919, killed mostly people aged 20 to 45, and and in some age groups twice as many men as women. The 1957 flu hit children especially hard, closing schools. The 1968 pandemic was hard on the over-65s.


For authorities, the message is simple: the longer Australia can keep the disease from its shores the fewer people will die. Once it arrives, the aim is to isolate the sick and prevent its spread. Once that battle is lost ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ which experts expect will happen ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ then time will have run out. The new strain of flu will charge through the community, and millions could fall ill. The strategy then is to minimise the damage and help those people who need it most.


State and federal authorities have detailed plans for keeping the disease from Australia and limiting any spread, with contingencies for closing schools, isolating people, limiting travel, banning public events and commandeering property.


"All you can do is buy time," says RMIT virologist Greg Tannock. "A few weeks would help a lot."


Horvath, who will have powerful quarantine powers in the event of a pandemic, has no qualms about enforcing emergency powers, and talks of shutting down the MCG. "But then you are talking about saving tens of thousands of lives," he says.


Australia has enough supplies of the anti-viral medicine Tamiflu to protect medical staff and emergency workers (but not enough for the wider population) in the first weeks of a pandemic, which will keep essential staff alive while a vaccine goes into production. Each state has stockpiles of antibiotics to help counter diseases such as pneumonia, which accompany flu.


For those who aren't "emergency" workers, antivirals such as Tamiflu or Relenza are unlikely to be available. The public will have to wait for a vaccine and, in the case of a deadly virus, hope they don't get ill. "There's going to be a huge shortage of (antivirals) in the world," says Professor Tannock. Graeme Laver expects there to be panic.


In CSL's laboratories, experts expect it will take about six weeks to produce the first effective vaccine ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ assuming it stems from a bird flu, for which they have prepared. Within three months, all Australians will have access to a dose of vaccine, which takes 10-14 days to be effective (assuming it works). But if the influenza is not the bird flu type, a vaccine might take six months to perfect.


Poorer, less developed countries are expected to fare significantly worse when the pandemic hits. Few will have antiviral drugs (Britain announced this month it would stockpile enough for 13 million people), let alone antibiotic reserves and the medical workforce to adequately battle a virulent strain.


Once a vaccine is produced, Canada, Australia, Japan, the United States and parts of Europe will have guaranteed first access. "Others will be queueing for what's left over," says Gust.


Wherever it first appears, experts agree that a flu will move quickly. The pandemic of 1918 took many months to reach Australia ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ the first case arrived in Victoria in January 1919 in what scientists describe as the third wave of the disease ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ having already spread through the world via shipping lanes. The rapid global spread of SARS in late 2002, a disease that was quite hard to catch and affected only 8000 people, gave a taste of how any spread will be rapid and uncontrollable.


"It was an important wake-up call for a number of countries and it pointed out a number of deficiencies," says Gust.


Horvath knows that public information ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ and securing the support of the media ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ will be vital in a national medical emergency. Government officials plan to speak to senior media executives in coming months to explain possible scenarios.


Meanwhile, the regular intergovernment meetings continue in preparation for the inevitable. So how much warning will we get of the next pandemic? "In a sense you could say we have had two years' notice," says Horvath.





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seems to be in big demand:


CSL adds 100,000 effective flu doses to NZ

Thursday, 17 March 2005, 8:22 am

Press Release: PHARMAC


CSL adds to fully effective flu doses available to NZers.


Australian pharmaceutical company Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) has agreed to supply 100,000 doses of a fully-effective influenza vaccine to New Zealanders.


The 100,000 doses add to 50,000 already secured from another company Solvay, and will be available to patients from April 2005. Two lots of 50,000 have been secured, one to arrive in April 2005, and the second in May.


PHARMAC Medical Director Dr Peter Moodie says the CSL offer is great news, and brings the stocks of fully effective influenza vaccine up to 150,000 doses.


ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are delighted that CSL has been able to make this stock available to New Zealand,ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ Dr Moodie says.


ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“We will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to determine how these fully effective doses can best be targeted at New Zealanders who are most at risk.ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ Dr Moodie says.


PHARMAC is also continuing to work with other suppliers to determine what stock is available.


The stocks of vaccines that are fully effective against the three influenza strains required for the 2005 flu season add to the 1.3 million doses of vaccine to be supplied by Sanofi-Pasteur. The Sanofi-Pasteur vaccine is effective against two of the three strains, and partially effective against a third.





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Prospects For CSL Have Just Improved Further


March 21 2005 - Australasian Investment Review ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“ (AIR)


Both Macquarie and Smith Barney Citigroup have issued glowing reports

on CSL (CSL) this morning.


Citigroup analysts returned from a number of US meetings with

increased confidence that CSL can effect a 12.2% increase in its IVIG

price (blood plasma) to US$45/g by 01-Jan-06.


The analysts are of the view that, following its main competitor's

'merger' with the American Red Cross plasma business, Baxter will move

to consolidate the business. They also understand that Baxter has the

option of giving major GPOs a 90-day contract termination notice on



The analysts believe GPOs would be keen to recut a contract to ensure

access to supply and Baxter could achieve IVIG prices of up to

US$48/g. The updraught should enable CSL to move headline prices to

around US$45/g, switching all contracts by 01-Jan-06.


If this scenario unfolds as described, this would imply current

forecasts from FY07 onwards would have to be raised.


Citigroup rates CSL Buy/Medium Risk with a target price of $41.74.

Macquarie has an Outperform recommendation and a target of $39.00. Out

of the top ten equity advisers in Australia, a total of 6 rates the

stock a Buy.





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  • 1 month later...

Australian scientists develop vaccine

By Jeff Sommerfield

May 06, 2005


AUSTRALIAN scientists have developed a vaccine to protect women from cervical cancer and expect it to be available late next year.


Cervical cancer is one of the few human cancers know to be directly caused by the viral infection, human papillomavirus (HPV) and up to 70 per cent of sexually active women become infected during their lifetime.


HPV causes about 470,000 cervical cancer cases worldwide a year, killing 274,000 women.


Trials of the drug Gardasil reported in the British medical journal Lancet Oncology reported it cut HPV infection rates by 90 per cent.



The vaccine was invented and developed in Australia by Professor Ian Frazer and other scientists at the University of Queensland after Australian company CSL Ltd identified it as a promising breakthrough.


CSL Ltd chief scientific officer Dr Andrew Cuthbertson said CSL and Professor Frazer established collaborative research on HPV more than 15 years ago, which was latter developed into a commercial relationship with pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co Inc.


"We should be on the brink of making this vaccine available to the world," Dr Cuthbertson said yesterday.


"Merck plan to file with regulatory agencies in the US before the end of 2005 and this can take around a year before approvals are obtained.


"From a public health perspective, I think this could make the biggest contribution Australia has made to world public health.


"This is a discovery, should it come to fruition and I trust it will, that will have a very major impact on world public health and particularly women's health."


Dr Cuthbertson said the discovery made by Professor Frazer was the creation of virus like particles (VLPs).


A virus consists of a viral coat made up of structural proteins surrounding nucleic acid which is essential for its reproduction.


The VLP developed by Professor Cuthbertson looks like the outside of a virus, but has no nucleic acid inside and is therefore unable to reproduce and causes no harm.


Dr Cuthbertson said when the body recognises the VLP it generates an antibody response against that virus.


"When the person comes into contact with a real papilloma virus it fights it off immediately," he said.


Queensland Cancer Fund support services co-ordinator Carmen Heathcote said the potential vaccine would be hugely significant, particularly in developing countries where there are not well established screening programs.


"This will be one way women can be protected against the virus which may lead to development of the cancer in the future," Ms Heathcote said.


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Smith Barney Lifts CSL Numbers


Friday, May 13, 2005 8:18:07 PM ET

Dow Jones Newswires


1004 [Dow Jones] STOCK CALL: Smith Barney raises earnings estimates for CSL (CSL.AU) slightly after news of 50% expansion of its local flu vaccine facility; estimates expansion will create further A$10 million-A$15 million in revenue, A$2 million-A$3 million in EBIT. Also raises price target on CSL to A$41.87 from A$41.74. Keeps Buy rating. CSL last A$31.48.











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from the news wires....who to believe huh??maybe more csl folks read GSJBW??


Goldman Sachs JBWere downgrades CSL from

Marketperform to Underperform citing several risks including downside potential

to FY06 consensus earnings. Believes earnings outlook in FY06 is likely flat or

down on-year; there's prospect of share price support drying up when current

buyback is completed; decreasing risk of FY06 earnings upsside from plasma

pricing; lack of valuation support even on basis of FY07 earnings; execution

risks in delivering material uplift in earnings as inventory profits roll-off.

Has A$26.50 valuation; stock closed Friday down 85 cents at A$30.90.




ABN Amro keeps Buy rating on CSL after

tax statement, revenue guidance on Friday were both in line with its forecasts;

adds accounting changes lead to overall 4.8% upgrade to ABN's FY06 net profit

estimate. Keeps A$37.38 target vs latest A$30.80, down 3.5%.




Despite stock rout, Smith Barney keeps Buy rating

on CSL after "nonmaterial" tax statement last Friday; says tax

treatment is benign, FY06 forecasts consistent with previous discussions with

industry. "However, the FY06 comments were sufficiently ambiguous to generate

more questions than answers in a weakening market." Shaves FY06 EPS forecast by

3.3%, but keeps A$41.74 price target. CSL last off 2.9% at A$30.99, adding to

Friday's 6.5% drop.

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In reply to: balance on Monday 16/05/05 01:11pm

Missed this one.......


Shares in CSL down 4.5% after it gives detail on

impact of international accounting changes. CSL confirms profit guidance, but

analyst says CSL points to some caveats on which guidance relies. "It's dreadful

timing," said analyst. "In a market which is under pressure, if you revisit

numbers or caveats the market is going to get nervous."

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