Even as Pfizer’s vaccines outfit suffers a painful slowdown of its vaccine powerhouse Prevnar 13, the group may soon get a boost from another shot in Europe. The New York drug giant’s meningitis B vaccine Trumenba notched a recommendation for approval from a European Medicines Agency committee, likely lining the vaccine up for a green light on the continent.
EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use signed off on Pfizer’s meningitis B vaccine for people 10 and older. If approved, it’d be able to compete for some patients with GSK’s hotshot Bexsero, picked up in that company’s megabillion-dollar asset swap with Novartis.
Trumenba is already approved in the U.S. for people aged 10 to 25 and brought in $88 million in worldwide sales last year, according to EvaluatePharma. That’s a far cry from the drugmaker’s top shot, pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar 13, which hauled in $6 billion last year.
Despite that impressive tally, Pfizer’s megablockbuster is set for a gradual sales erosion over the coming years, and the company has been looking to diversify its vaccines outfit beyond Prevnar to prepare for that decline.
If approved in Europe, Pfizer’s shot could pose a challenge Bexsero from GlaxoSmithKline, a company that has been moving to make the most of its Meningitis B vaccine ever since it acquired the product from Novartis.
Shortly after closing its asset swap, the London-based drugmaker inked a deal with the U.K. government for a national immunization program. Through the deal, British infants receive the shot at two months of age, four months and 12 to 13 months.
Demand was so high that private clinics experienced a brief shortage last year. Now, GSK is investing $175 million to boost its manufacturing capacity. Bexsero won European approval back in 2012 for people 2 months and older. In the U.S., the GSK shot is approved for people ages 10 through 25.
Bexsero brought in £390 million ($485 million) last year for GSK.