It's Merck v. Glaxo in vaccine battle

Call it the battle of the HPV vaccines. For the past week, either Merck's Gardasil or GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix--or both--have captured headlines:

• Glaxo submits Cervarix for approval in Japan
• Merck donates millions of Gardasil doses for use in developing countries
• Glaxo applies for vaccine prequalification from the WHO
• Gardasil wins best new biotech product
• Cervarix approved for sale in Europe
• Merck hires PR firm to advocate for Gardasil
• Sanofi Pasteur files to extend Gardasil treatment

It's no mystery why the drug makers are jostling for ascendancy here. Estimates of the market for these vaccines run to several billions, even if their use was restricted to prevention of cervical cancer.

Now there's evidence that Gardasil may protect against cancers of the vagina and vulva, further bolstering its usefulness for women. Other research shows that HPV may cause throat and neck cancer in men, thus boys may need one of the vaccines, too--creating a whole new, unexpected market. So the stakes are even higher than they first seemed. And they were pretty darn high to start with.

- see GSK's release on WHO prequalification and the release on it's Japan app.
- check out Merck's press release on the Prix Galien
- read the article from PR Week
- see this Medical Marketing & Media article

Related Articles:
GSK prepares to go head-to-head with Merck. Report
Merck's Gardasil OK'd for pricey rollout. Report
Cervarix more effective in girls aged 10-14. Report
GSK stakes claim to ASCO spotlight. Report