April 27, 2009 / 3:13 PM / 11 years ago

Glaxo working to increase Relenza drug production

LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s second biggest drugmaker, is urgently seeking ways to increase production of Relenza, one of two medicines found to be effective against a deadly new strain of swine flu.

The disease has killed more than 100 people in Mexico and experts fear it could mark the start of a pandemic. Tests show it is sensitive to Relenza, an inhaled drug, and Roche Holding AG’s Tamiflu tablets.

The British-based company said on Monday it had supplied 100,000 packs of Relenza and 170,000 additional doses of its seasonal flu vaccine to the Mexican authorities, at their request, since the start of the outbreak.

“GSK is continuing to discuss with the Mexican authorities whether further support from GSK is needed at this time,” it added.

Glaxo, one of the world’s top producers of seasonal flu vaccines, said it also stood ready to initiate discussions with authorities for the manufacture of a new vaccine, once a suitable candidate vaccine strain was available from the World Health Organisation.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler

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