Switzerland-headquartered pharmaceutical giant Novartis will invest US$486 million to build a new influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in Holly Springs, North Carolina. The company says it plans to create more than 300 new jobs at the plant by 2012. The project is the result of a federal government contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "I am delighted that the Novartis Vaccines facilities in Holly Springs will be able to support the U.S. government's ability to respond quickly to a potential pandemic, as well as contribute to America's vaccine infrastructure for seasonal flu," says Joerg Reinhardt, Ph.D., Novartis' chief operating officer. "We believe that this contract award underscores the U.S. government's commitment to ensure pandemic vaccine supply, and reflects their confidence in Novartis." Upon completion, the factory is expected to have capacity to manufacture 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of an flu pandemic declaration.