* Vaccine available 4-6 mths after co gets seed virus
* UK orders 60 mln doses, France 50 mln
* Glaxo to continue manufacturing seasonal flu vaccine
(Adds details, Novartis, Baxter, analyst comments)
By Ben Deighton
LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) said on Friday several European governments had ordered stockpiles of a pandemic vaccine the British drugmaker is developing against the new H1N1 flu virus.
Britain, France, Belgium and Finland had between them placed orders for close to 120 million doses of the vaccine, which an analyst said could generate sales of around 600 million pounds ($912 million) this year.
The company would begin production after receiving the seed virus, or starting material, needed to produce a pandemic vaccine and the first doses would be available four to six months later, pending regulatory approval, Glaxo said.
The latest H1N1 virus, known as swine flu, has killed an estimated 65 people, including 60 in Mexico, and infected nearly 6,500 people in 33 countries, according to the World Health Organisation. [ID:nnN14522606]
Common seasonal flu kills up to 500,000 people a year worldwide.
The drugmaker confirmed it would continue development of seasonal vaccine alongside the pandemic vaccine and expected to complete production of the Northern Hemisphere seasonal flu vaccine by the end of July.
Glaxo said that, as a “precautionary measure”, Britain had ordered 60 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine, France 50 million, Belgium 12.6 million and Finland 5.3 million.
Analyst Simon Mather at WestLB said that Glaxo could see a potential revenue boost of about 600 million pounds ($912.2 million) in 2009 from the agreements.
British authorities said in a separate statement they had signed an agreement with Glaxo and Baxter International (BAX.N) for up to 90 million doses.
Other major flu vaccine makers include Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) and Novartis NOVN.VX.
Novartis said it has been in discussions with different governments, and Baxter confirmed the contract with Britain and said it regularly talks with governments and health authorities around the world about their pandemic planning needs.
Sanofi-Aventis said it has signed pandemic supply agreements with several governments including France and the United States but does not sign advance purchase deals.
Glaxo said it would convert its intended donation to the WHO of 50 million doses of H5N1 pre-pandemic vaccine to the new candidate A (H1N1) adjuvanted vaccine once production began.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the organisation is expected to make a recommendation soon about the best production balance between different types of vaccine.
Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Lewis Krauskopf in New York; editing by Simon Jessop, John Stonestreet