Sanofi dengue vaccine filings could come as soon as next year's Q1, CEO says

Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher

Sanofi's ($SNY) in line to rack up blockbuster sales after hitting a wide-open market with its dengue vaccine, analysts predict. And company CEO Chris Viehbacher thinks those sales could start rolling in before next year is out.

The company plans to begin submitting approval applications for the candidate in the first quarter of 2015, with "the initial sales possibly as early as the fourth quarter," he told analysts on a conference call Thursday (as quoted by Seeking Alpha).

Rollout of the vaccine will begin in Latin America, where Viehbacher said he expects Mexico, Brazil and Colombia among the first launch countries. Within Asia, he listed Singapore and Malaysia as "priority countries."

Sanofi's dengue jab, the world's first for the deadly tropical disease, has been a long time coming. The French drugmaker has been working on the shot for more than 20 years, and analysts see a payoff of $1.4 billion a year in peak sales in the company's future.

And the pharma giant's emerging-markets expertise should help the dengue vaccine as Sanofi aims to hit that mark. The company said in a regulatory filing that "strong growth" in emerging markets bolstered its vaccines haul for 2013, and earlier this week, Sanofi said sales in developing countries helped its flu vaccine business grow 18.9% to buoy the vaccines unit overall.

But while the vaccine may be headed for the blockbuster strata, it's not quite a dengue cure-all. On the contrary, it faces lingering efficacy questions in protecting against one of four dengue serotypes; in a Phase III study of 10,275 children across Asia, it posted just 34.7% efficacy against serotype 2.

- read the call transcript
- see Reuters' take

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