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Chiron Corporation

Chiron Corporation
HeadquartersEmeryville, California, USA
Key peopleHoward Pien, CEO
blood testing
Revenue $1.921 billion (2005)
Employees5,400 (2005)

Chiron Corporation was a multinational biotechnology firm based in Emeryville, California that was acquired by Novartis International AG on April 20 2006. It had offices and facilities in eighteen countries on five continents. Chiron's business and research was in three main areas: biopharmaceuticals, vaccines and blood testing. Chiron's vaccines and blood testing units have been combined to form Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, while Chiron BioPharmaceuticals will be integrated into Novartis Pharmaceuticals.


Chiron was founded in 1981 by professors William Rutter, Edward Penhoet, and Pablo Valenzuela.

In 1992, the company's first product, Proleukin, was approved in United States for the treatment of metastatic kidney cancer. This was followed a year later by Betaseron, the first treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Regranex, a topical treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, was launched in 1997 in partnership with Johnson & Johnson. The most recent new pharmaceutical launch was that of Tobi in 2001, the first inhaled antibiotic approved for treating lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients,

Having launched its first vaccine product, Fluad, an adjuvanted influenza vaccine, in 1996, the vaccine line was expanded significantly in 1998 with the acquisition of the European vaccine businesses of Behring (Germany) and Sclavo (Italy). This was followed in 2003 by the acquisition of PowderJect, the UK-based vaccines company, making Chiron the second-largest flu vaccines provider and the fifth-largest vaccines business in the world.

In 1998, Chiron's nucleic acid testing (NAT) blood-testing business was launched in a cooperation with Gen-Probe, followed a year later by the launch of the Procleix system, which detects viral RNA and DNA in donated blood and plasma during the very early stages of infection, when those infectious agents are present but cannot be detected by immunodiagnostic tests.

On August 27, 2003 two bombs exploded at Chiron's headquarters in Emeryville, California. A group calling itself Revolutionary Cells (RCALB) e-mailed a statement to reporters taking credit for the bombing.

In 2004, Chiron attracted adverse media coverage after the UK government suspended its licence for manufacturing Fluvirin, an influenza virus vaccine, at its plant in Liverpool. This action left the United States government short of the vaccine. It later emerged that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may have been aware of the problem nine months earlier, but a miscommunication between the company and the FDA left the problem unsolved until the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency), the British equivalent of the FDA stepped in and suspended Chiron's licence.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chiron_Corporation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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