Merck moves up sales rankings in vaccine industry projection

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Merck is expected to generate vaccine sales of $7.54 billion in 2022, trailing GlaxoSmithKline's $8.65 billion, according to Evaluate.

Last year, life science commercial intelligence firm Evaluate released a vaccine market projection stating that GlaxoSmithKline would top the industry by 2022, with Sanofi, Pfizer and Merck trailing in order. While GSK is still expected to top the industry that year, projections in the firm’s latest World Preview now see a different order among the other major players.

Analysts now expect Merck to land in second place with $7.54 billion in 2022 vaccine sales, followed by Pfizer at $7.13 billion and Sanofi at $6.82 billion. Glaxo is expected to top the industry, with a projected 2022 sales haul of $8.65 billion.

According to Evaluate analysts, the change comes as a result of market forecasters bumping up sales projections for Merck’s Gardasil and Pneumovax by $215 million and $268 million, respectively, and more modest increases between $80 million and $122 million for RotaTeq, Varivax, Proquad, Vaxelis, and the company’s in-development Ebola vaccine.

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Analysts reduced their expectations for Merck’s Zostavax by $168 million, but “this was outweighed by the increases elsewhere,” according to the firm. Zostavax will soon likely face competition from GlaxoSmithKline’s Shingrix, which a CDC group recently said they’d recommend over the Merck shot based on currently available data.

The report comes just after Merck CEO Ken Frazier said that Gardasil and pipeline projects make vaccines a “really strong part” of Merck’s overall business, though one that many people “underestimate.”

RELATED: Merck CEO: Gardasil plus pipeline equals big things ahead for vaccines

For Sanofi, analysts have reduced 2022 sales expectations for Adacel, Menactra, Dengvaxia, and an in-development C. Difficile vaccine, according to Evaluate. Fluzone and Pentacel saw “substantial increases,” in the forecasts, $222 million and $458 million, respectively, but the “downgrades elsewhere appear to have outweighed these," Evaluate analysts wrote in an email to FiercePharma.

Sanofi has been struggling to meet sales expectations with Dengvaxia, which it spent $1.5 billion and 20 years to develop. Last year, the vaccine turned in €55 million in sales, far short of an initial €200 million estimate.

RELATED: Sanofi creates vaccine growth in 2016 despite lifeless Dengvaxia launch

Evaluate noted that Pfizer saw a “slight downgrade” due to lower sales forecasts for Prevnar 13 and its in-development S. aureus shot, though Trumenba experienced a $308 million increase versus last year’s consensus projections.

Behind the top 4 companies—which are expected to hold more than 85% of the vaccine market share by 2022—Evaluate predicts CSL, Emergent BioSolutions, Novavax, Mitsubishi Tanabe, Astellas and AstraZeneca will round out the top 10 companies in the space. CSL recently formed its Seqirus flu vaccine unit, and is pushing to be the top player in that market, a position currently held by Sanofi.