Sanofi's dengue shot ups serotype 2 protection rate in final trial

Results from Sanofi's ($SNY) dengue vaccine trial are in, and once again, the data confirm its overall efficacy. But notably, this trial also saw an improvement in protection against dengue serotype 2, a viral strain that's tripped up the vaccine in previous studies.

In the trial, which involved 20,875 children aged 9 to 16 in 5 Latin American countries, the vaccine cut down disease cases by 60.8% and reduced the risk of dengue-related hospitalization by 80.3%, the French drugmaker said Wednesday.

The vaccine also posted a 42.3% efficacy rate in battling serotype 2, topping the relatively weak 35% rate it put up in a large-scale trial in Asia.

Partnership for Dengue Control Chairman Duane Gubler

"These new positive phase III results from Latin America are very encouraging because they are consistent with the results reported in July in the Asian phase III trial," Duane Gubler, chairman of the Partnership for Dengue Control, said in a statement. "Together, the results of these trials suggest that for the first time, a vaccine solution that can help control dengue, is on the horizon."

That solution can't come soon enough, as dengue threatens nearly half the world's population and infects up to 100 million people per year, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates. Currently, there's no vaccine to protect against the disease, but Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher has said his company is aiming to sell its first doses by the second half of next year.

The pharma giant, too, is eager to see its investment of more than €1.3 billion ($1.71 billion) and 20 years of research pay off. And pay off it will, analysts predict: Some say the three-dose vaccine could rake in €1 billion ($1.31 billion) a year, giving Sanofi's vaccines business a hefty boost.

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