Novartis AG and Synthetic Genomics Vaccines, Inc. have apparently agreed to collaborate on a project that is intended to reduce the time needed to develop influenza vaccines. Supported by the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the three-year collaboration will create seed viruses, or the templates from which vaccines are created, relying on Synthetic Genomics technology. According to a news source, companies that manufacture vaccines rely on the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify and distribute live reference viruses to develop seasonal or pandemic vaccines. As soon as WHO identifies the flu strain active in any given year, the companies hope to have synthetic seed viruses ready to go into production. Synthetic Genomics is run by Craig Venter, best known for his competitive efforts to decode the entire human genetic blueprint in 2000. See Bloomberg, October 7, 2010.