MERIDEN, Conn. – Another flu season is fast approaching, and with it, concerns about the potential effectiveness of flu vaccines to combat two strains of flu virus expected to be in circulation, it seemed like a good time to do a story on Protein Sciences and its innovative, FDA-approved flu vaccine, Flublok.

The success of Protein Sciences also offers a glimpse into potential opportunities and return on investments offered by investments in Rhode Island’s emerging biomedical industry sector.

Flublok, which Protein Sciences calls the world’s first licensed influenza vaccine that is manufactured using recombinant DNA technology, is approved for use for anyone over 18 years of age.

It is marketed as being a highly pure product: it contains no egg protein, gelatin, thimersal [a mercury derivative], latex, gluten, antibiotics, formaldehyde or influenza virus, according to Protein Sciences.

And, it’s highly effective, according to Protein Sciences. A recent clinical study of Flubok involving approximately 9,000 adults 50 years or older showed that Flublok recipients were 31 percent less likely to develop laboratory-confirmed influenza than people who received a traditional, egg-based vaccine.

In addition, the FDA has shown its confidence in Flublok and Protein Sciences by granting exclusivity to Flublok until January 2025, ensuring that no other product similar to Flublok can be approved by the FDA before that date.

Protein Sciences is also collaborating with EpiVax, the Rhode Island company led by Dr. Annie S. De Groot, to produce a tweaked recombinant vaccine for the H7N9 flu, working with the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, to get approval to move into production.

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