Sales upside for Sanofi's Fluzone Quadrivalent looks strong

The FDA two days ago gave its approval to Sanofi's ($SNY) Fluzone Quadrivalent, a 4-in-1 influenza vaccine, and now the estimates on the revenue upside are starting to roll in. GlobalData says they look very promising.

According to the U.K. research firm, Sanofi's Fluzone QIV, and other quadrivalents, should eclipse sales of three-strain vaccines over the next few years. It forecasts sales of Sanofi's product should bring in $384 million in 2022 and predicts compound annual growth of nearly 14%. It said Sanofi's Fluzone franchise of influenza vaccine products "is expected to help position the multinational vaccine manufacturer as a formidable player in the U.S. market."

Of course, it already is a formidable player. According to EvaluatePharma data, it is the top vaccine seller globally, with 2012 vaccine revenues topping $5.5 billion. Sanofi's Fluzone/Vaxigrip flu shot is already one of the two top-selling vaccines along with PENT Act-HIB, a DTPq, Hib and polio vaccine. EvaluatePharma says those two should remain among the top 3 best sellers for another 5 years.

The FDA Monday approved Fluzone Quadrivalent for treating children 6 months and older, adolescents and adults. Sanofi's jab now joins GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) Fluarix Quadrivalent and AstraZeneca's ($AZN) MedImmune as 4-in-1 vaccines that are already approved.  Fluzone is the only one approved for children that young.

Quadrivalent vaccines contain two "A" strains and two "B" strains, which should make them more effective. Up until now, vaccines have contained two A strains but only one B strain, and it oftentimes ended up being the wrong strain. Being more effective should lead to greater confidence in the public and so prompt people to get vaccinated. Only about 42% of people receive their flu shots--far below the CDC's target rate of 80%--meaning a large population remains untapped.

Dr. David P. Greenberg, vice president of scientific and medical affairs for Sanofi Pasteur U.S., told FiercePharma this week that the public does not always realize how serious influenza is, particularly for children, some of whom die from it each year. "Children and young adults seem to suffer disproportionately from influenza, with more hospitalizations and deaths, so it is very significant that we have a vaccine for children of this age," he said.

- read the GlobalData comments

Special Report: Sanofi - Top 5 Vaccine Companies by Revenue - 2012