Pfizer's next top seller aces trials for new use

Pfizer has gotten some good news on Prevnar 13, its new-generation pneumococcal vaccine. It proved at least as effective in adults as Merck's Pneumovax, according to new study data. Acquired in its merger with Wyeth--and touted as one major justification for the deal--Prevnar 13 is expected to pick up some of the sales slack after Lipitor falls off patent. 

Prevnar is predicted to become Pfizer's biggest seller in the post-Lipitor years. To make that happen, Pfizer will have to expand use of the shot to adults; it's now only approved as a pediatric vaccine. The company expects that the indication in adults could add $1.5 billion to Prevnar 13's sales.

The new data adds credence to that push. In two late-stage trials, Prevnar 13 prompted an immune response in adults age 50 and older--one at least as strong as the response to Merck's Pneumovax, already approved for use in older adults. By one measure, Prevnar 13 outperformed the existing vaccine, the company said in a statement.

The two trials were filed with the FDA to support its pending applications for the new use. The company is awaiting decisions from FDA, European regulators, as well as officials in more than a dozen other countries.

- here's Pfizer's release
- read the Reuters news

Interview: Pfizer vaccine unit chief eyes adults, infectious disease. Report