Pfizer's big payoff from Wyeth buy begins

Pfizer's buyout of Wyeth is starting to really pay off. The Big Kahuna of Wyeth's pipeline--a new version of the childhood vaccine Prevnar--has won FDA approval. If you don't hear the celebratory shouting at Pfizer HQ, then you must be wearing earplugs.

This new version of the shot, Prevnar 13, adds six more varietals to the mix, covering 90 percent to 95 percent of the germs that cause pneumococcal meningitis, pneumonia and ear infections, Pfizer says. The current version of the shot posted 2008 sales of $2.7 billion, and this new version is expected to be even bigger.

More than twice as large, in fact. Credit Suisse analyst Catherine Arnold tells the Wall Street Journal she expects the vaccine to bring in $5.9 billion in sales by 2015, making it Pfizer's biggest product once Lipitor falls off the patent cliff next year. "We think it is the most important value driver for the future of Pfizer," she says. You can't get much bigger than that.

- see Pfizer's announcement
- read the WSJ Health Blog post