Vaccine maker Adimmune Corp (國光生技) yesterday said that it plans to raise between NT$1.5 billion and NT$2 billion (US$49 million and US$66 million) to build a new plant to process its antigens and make flu vaccines for the European market, filling the production gap caused by the withdrawal of its downstream European partner from the segment.
“Dutch-based biotech company Crucell, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is likely to terminate its eight-year cooperation with Adimmune starting in 2015, and stop processing Adimmune’s antigens and selling the end product to 15 European countries,” Adimmune Corp chief financial officer Vic Chang (張哲瑋) told reporters yesterday.
Sales of antigens to Crucell accounted for 38 percent of Adimmune’s revenue of NT$414.09 million last year, Chang said.
The company will propose the fund-raising plan to its board next month and probably carry out the plan in July if its shareholders approve it. Adimmune expects it can receive the money in August.
Chang estimated that it will take two or three years to build the new plant and another half a year for the inspection of the new plant to be completed.
The company said that the average price of flu vaccines is two or three times the price of its antigens.
The company also announced yesterday that it had set up a subsidiary to focus on developing vaccines for enterovirus 71, which tends to infect children younger than five years old.
Adimmune said there is currently no cure for the virus and its subsidiary will launch phase-two clinical trials of its vaccine in June in Taiwan.
The company aims to complete the phase-two trials at the end of next year, and it will conduct an initial public offering of the subsidiary afterward, it said.
Adimmune said 6 million people around the world have been infected with the virus in the past 10 years, and 2,000 people died from it during that period.
The subsidiary has NT$558 million in capital, and Adimmune has 51 percent of its shares, Adimmune said.
This year, Adimmune expects its revenue to grow 10 percent from a year ago because of rising orders.
However, from January through September last year, the company registered losses of NT$403.06 million, or NT$2.27 per share, down from losses of NT$409.02 million a year earlier, according to a company filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.