Chiron's Meningococcal C Vaccine Approved in Canada

Menjugate(TM) Meningococcal C Conjugate Vaccine Approved Under

Expedited Review



Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Chiron Corporation

    EMERYVILLE, Calif., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Chiron Corporation
 (Nasdaq:   CHIR) announced today that Health Canada's Bureau of Biologics and
 Radiopharmaceuticals (BBR) granted the company a license to market
 Menjugate(TM), a conjugate vaccine against disease caused by the bacterium
 Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C (MenC).
     Health Canada's BBR approved Menjugate under expedited review, for use in
 vaccinating all age groups including infants from two months of age through
 adults for prevention of meningococcal C disease.  This action was prompted by
 reported increases in this disease in several Canadian provinces.  Merck
 Frosst will be the exclusive distributor of Menjugate in Canada, and will
 support and promote sales to the public and private sectors.  Menjugate is a
 conjugate vaccine comprised of purified capsular polysaccharide conjugated to
 a protein carrier.  Menjugate was first licensed in the United Kingdom (UK) in
 March 2000, with US $115 million in sales in 2000 from shipments to the UK,
 Ireland, Hungary, and Spain.
     "Chiron is focused on fully developing the potential of Menjugate to
 prevent meningococcal C outbreaks worldwide.  The approval of Menjugate in
 Canada broadens the market for Chiron's MenC franchise beyond Europe.  Chiron
 is applying for registration throughout Europe by means of the Mutual
 Recognition Procedure.  Additionally, Chiron is in negotiations with public
 health authorities in other countries where meningococcal C disease outbreaks
 occur," commented John Lambert, president of Chiron Vaccines.
 
     Chiron's Meningococcal Franchise
     Chiron is committed to the development of vaccines for the prevention of
 meningococcal disease, including disease caused by serogroups A, B, C, W
 and Y.
     The lead research program is a vaccine for Meningococcal B disease and
 clinical trials are targeted to begin in 2001-2002.
 
     Meningococcal Meningitis:  A Deadly Disease
     Invasive infection with the bacterium N. meningitidis can lead to
 meningitis and septicemia (blood poisoning).  Meningococcal meningitis, which
 can be caused by multiple serogroups (A, B, C, Y and others), is associated
 with a high mortality rate.  Of these strains, serogroup C accounts for
 approximately 25 to 45 percent of the meningitis cases in the U.S. and Canada,
 and about 40 percent in the UK.  Meningococcal meningitis outbreaks tend to be
 seasonal, with the highest incidence in the winter months.  Symptoms of this
 deadly infection mimic those of the flu and include:  fever, headache,
 vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash of small red spots, which subsequently
 develop into bruises, blood blisters, or blood spots.  Of patients who do
 recover from the disease, 10% have permanent hearing loss or other serious
 complications.
     "The existing meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine does not provide
 significant protection for those under 2 years of age, nor is the protection
 long lasting in those over 2 years of age.  In contrast, the meningococcal C
 conjugate vaccine is protective even in children under 2 years of age and
 provides a long lasting effect.  In addition, unlike the polysaccharide
 vaccine, in which we demonstrated immunologic hyporesponsiveness of the C
 component to subsequent doses of polysaccharide, the conjugate vaccine is
 immunogenic even in subjects who previously received polysaccharide vaccine,"
 commented Dr. Noni MacDonald, Professor of Paediatrics and Microbiology,
 Dalhousie University School of Medicine, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
 
     Prevalence of Meningococcal Meningitis in Canada
     Since January 2001, an increase in Men C disease has been reported in
 several Canadian provinces.  According to Health Canada, the annual number of
 cases of invasive meningococcal disease varies from 150 to 300 cases with
 local and regional outbreaks occurring in irregular cycles.  Approximately
 7 to 10 percent of cases are fatal.  Between 1997 and 1998 at least
 13 Canadians died of group C invasive meningococcal disease.  During this past
 winter, numerous outbreaks have been reported in Canada, mainly in British
 Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
 
     About Chiron Vaccines
     Chiron Vaccines sells a pipeline of novel and standard vaccines, primarily
 in Europe.  Chiron Behring (Germany) and Chiron S.p.A. (Italy) are leaders in
 their respective vaccine markets.  Chiron also sells its vaccines
 internationally through multinational healthcare organizations and local
 distributors.
 
     About Chiron
     Chiron Corporation, headquartered in Emeryville, California, is a leading
 biotechnology company that participates in three global healthcare markets:
 biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, and blood testing.  The company is applying an
 integrated scientific approach to the development of innovative products for
 preventing and treating cancer and infection.  For more information about
 Chiron, visit the company's Web site at http://www.chiron.com.
 
     This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks
 and uncertainties.  A full discussion of Chiron's operations and financial
 condition, including factors that may affect its business and future
 prospects, is contained in documents the company files with the SEC, such as
 forms 10-Q and 10-K.  These documents identify important factors that could
 cause the company's actual performance to differ from current expectations,
 including the outcome of clinical trials, regulatory review, manufacturing
 capabilities and marketing effectiveness.
     In line with the new SEC Rule FD, Chiron Corporation does not undertake an
 obligation to update the forward-looking information we are giving today.
     NOTE:  Menjugate is a trademark of Chiron Corporation.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X78847011
 
 

SOURCE Chiron Corporation
    EMERYVILLE, Calif., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Chiron Corporation
 (Nasdaq:   CHIR) announced today that Health Canada's Bureau of Biologics and
 Radiopharmaceuticals (BBR) granted the company a license to market
 Menjugate(TM), a conjugate vaccine against disease caused by the bacterium
 Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C (MenC).
     Health Canada's BBR approved Menjugate under expedited review, for use in
 vaccinating all age groups including infants from two months of age through
 adults for prevention of meningococcal C disease.  This action was prompted by
 reported increases in this disease in several Canadian provinces.  Merck
 Frosst will be the exclusive distributor of Menjugate in Canada, and will
 support and promote sales to the public and private sectors.  Menjugate is a
 conjugate vaccine comprised of purified capsular polysaccharide conjugated to
 a protein carrier.  Menjugate was first licensed in the United Kingdom (UK) in
 March 2000, with US $115 million in sales in 2000 from shipments to the UK,
 Ireland, Hungary, and Spain.
     "Chiron is focused on fully developing the potential of Menjugate to
 prevent meningococcal C outbreaks worldwide.  The approval of Menjugate in
 Canada broadens the market for Chiron's MenC franchise beyond Europe.  Chiron
 is applying for registration throughout Europe by means of the Mutual
 Recognition Procedure.  Additionally, Chiron is in negotiations with public
 health authorities in other countries where meningococcal C disease outbreaks
 occur," commented John Lambert, president of Chiron Vaccines.
 
     Chiron's Meningococcal Franchise
     Chiron is committed to the development of vaccines for the prevention of
 meningococcal disease, including disease caused by serogroups A, B, C, W
 and Y.
     The lead research program is a vaccine for Meningococcal B disease and
 clinical trials are targeted to begin in 2001-2002.
 
     Meningococcal Meningitis:  A Deadly Disease
     Invasive infection with the bacterium N. meningitidis can lead to
 meningitis and septicemia (blood poisoning).  Meningococcal meningitis, which
 can be caused by multiple serogroups (A, B, C, Y and others), is associated
 with a high mortality rate.  Of these strains, serogroup C accounts for
 approximately 25 to 45 percent of the meningitis cases in the U.S. and Canada,
 and about 40 percent in the UK.  Meningococcal meningitis outbreaks tend to be
 seasonal, with the highest incidence in the winter months.  Symptoms of this
 deadly infection mimic those of the flu and include:  fever, headache,
 vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash of small red spots, which subsequently
 develop into bruises, blood blisters, or blood spots.  Of patients who do
 recover from the disease, 10% have permanent hearing loss or other serious
 complications.
     "The existing meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine does not provide
 significant protection for those under 2 years of age, nor is the protection
 long lasting in those over 2 years of age.  In contrast, the meningococcal C
 conjugate vaccine is protective even in children under 2 years of age and
 provides a long lasting effect.  In addition, unlike the polysaccharide
 vaccine, in which we demonstrated immunologic hyporesponsiveness of the C
 component to subsequent doses of polysaccharide, the conjugate vaccine is
 immunogenic even in subjects who previously received polysaccharide vaccine,"
 commented Dr. Noni MacDonald, Professor of Paediatrics and Microbiology,
 Dalhousie University School of Medicine, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
 
     Prevalence of Meningococcal Meningitis in Canada
     Since January 2001, an increase in Men C disease has been reported in
 several Canadian provinces.  According to Health Canada, the annual number of
 cases of invasive meningococcal disease varies from 150 to 300 cases with
 local and regional outbreaks occurring in irregular cycles.  Approximately
 7 to 10 percent of cases are fatal.  Between 1997 and 1998 at least
 13 Canadians died of group C invasive meningococcal disease.  During this past
 winter, numerous outbreaks have been reported in Canada, mainly in British
 Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
 
     About Chiron Vaccines
     Chiron Vaccines sells a pipeline of novel and standard vaccines, primarily
 in Europe.  Chiron Behring (Germany) and Chiron S.p.A. (Italy) are leaders in
 their respective vaccine markets.  Chiron also sells its vaccines
 internationally through multinational healthcare organizations and local
 distributors.
 
     About Chiron
     Chiron Corporation, headquartered in Emeryville, California, is a leading
 biotechnology company that participates in three global healthcare markets:
 biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, and blood testing.  The company is applying an
 integrated scientific approach to the development of innovative products for
 preventing and treating cancer and infection.  For more information about
 Chiron, visit the company's Web site at http://www.chiron.com.
 
     This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks
 and uncertainties.  A full discussion of Chiron's operations and financial
 condition, including factors that may affect its business and future
 prospects, is contained in documents the company files with the SEC, such as
 forms 10-Q and 10-K.  These documents identify important factors that could
 cause the company's actual performance to differ from current expectations,
 including the outcome of clinical trials, regulatory review, manufacturing
 capabilities and marketing effectiveness.
     In line with the new SEC Rule FD, Chiron Corporation does not undertake an
 obligation to update the forward-looking information we are giving today.
     NOTE:  Menjugate is a trademark of Chiron Corporation.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X78847011
 
 SOURCE  Chiron Corporation