Glaxo's Bexsero supply rebounds after demand for MenB jab outstrips supply

Bexsero packages from Novartis.
Pictured are Bexsero packages produced by Novartis before GSK acquired the Swiss drugmaker's vaccines busines last year. Photo courtesy of Novartis.

Good news for GlaxoSmithKline, and those U.K. parents wanting to get their hands on its meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero: The wait is over.

Glaxo will have a global shortage resolved by next month, it told The Guardian, with new stocks of the jab already on their way to private clinics in its home country.

The pharma giant unveiled its supply squeeze in January, attributing the shortage to “unexpected global demand” for the product. Upon folding in most of Novartis’ vaccines unit--the result of a multibillion-dollar asset swap last year--Glaxo promptly struck a deal with the U.K. government to provide the vaccine to British infants at two months, four months and 12 to 13 months. But thousands of parents whose children missed the boat on the vaccination program have been trying to get the shot through private clinics.

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“We are aware that many private clinics have waiting lists for parents who wish to have their child vaccinated against meningitis B. Over the coming months, we will work closely with these clinics to ensure that they have sufficient supply to meet current demand,” GSK said in a statement seen by The Guardian.

And a new supply at clinics means Glaxo can continue to watch Bexsero’s sales grow. Last quarter, it churned out £62 million ($90 million), helping the company’s total vaccines haul jump 14% on a pro forma basis to £882 million ($1.28 billion).

Of course, those sales are even more important in the wake of the Novartis transaction, too. GSK is now looking to vaccines and consumer health--two traditionally low-margin businesses--to offset payer-induced struggles in its pharma unit.

Even there, though, things have been looking up recently, with slow-starting respiratory meds beginning to step up.

“A rebound has started, if measured from the rather deep hole that had been dug,” Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson wrote in a note to clients last month.

- get more from The Guardian

Special Report: Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of 2014 - GlaxoSmithKline Oncology/Novartis Vaccines (excluding flu)

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