Seqirus Holly Springs held a ribbon cutting Monday morning to celebrate its expansion and new recognition for pandemic vaccine production and distribution.
Last week, the U.S. government declared Seqirus, one of the largest influenza vaccine manufacturers in the world, “pandemic ready” to produce and distribute 150 million doses of its cell-based pandemic influenza vaccines, which would be needed in the event of an influenza pandemic.
“We have to keep moving. We have to keep changing. We need to meet the evolving needs of the patient and the times we have,” said Paul Perrault, CSL CEO and managing director.
The Seqirus facility, located at 475 Green Oaks Parkway in Holly Springs, is the first and only company in the U.S. to receive the designation for domestic production.
“The impact of this expansion both locally and around the globe is significant,” said Dave Sehgal, the vice president of manufacturing and Holly springs site head for Sequirus.
The facility is also the first of its kind built in partnership with the federal government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
“When [pandemic influenza] does hit, we will be ready to go, and we have complete confidence we can hit those milestones and those goals,” said Robert Johnson, BARDA director.
Sen. Richard Burr helped establish the authority to strengthen the country’s readiness to respond to the next flu pandemic.
“I really am concerned with a year from now and the severity that flu might represent,” said Burr.
“It’s really important for us, and for the world, to have access to vaccines and for flu vaccination to be a normal process for our annual medical prevention.”
Pandemic influenza differs from seasonal influenza, although both can cause severe illness and live-threatening complications in some patients. Pandemic influenza, like coronavirus, is dangerous because there is “likely to be little or no pre-existing immunity to the virus in the human population,” according to a statement from Seqirus.
According to Seqirus, four influenza pandemics have occurred in the last century, including the 1918 pandemic.
It really is about protecting public health and making sure that we are pandemic ready,” said Perrault.
“Pandemic influenza is still one of the most urgent and predictable public health threats we face as a nation,” he said.
In the event of a pandemic influenza, Seqirus will be able to manufacture 150 million doses of specialized vaccines in Holly Springs.
“As we have learned throughout COVID-19, preparing for naturally occurring pandemics is critical to America’s national and economic security,” said Perrault.