Sanofi gets first approval for long-anticipated vaccine against dengue fever

After two decades and $1.65 billion in research, French drugmaker Sanofi ($SNY) has gotten an approval for the world's first vaccine against the sometimes deadly dengue fever, a virus that has been spreading globally. Mexico became the first of what Sanofi expects will be 20 countries to approve the jab in coming weeks as it targets countries with the most cases.

Mexico approved Dengvaxia for use for those 9 and older. In clinical trials, the vaccine, which can prevent all four types of the virus, protected two-thirds of those vaccinated, and in the most fatal form of the disease, the vaccine was effective in 93% of cases. It reduced hospitalizations from dengue by 80%, according to a recent data analysis.

Sanofi has yet to set a price on the vaccine, but the drugmaker has promised a "fair, … sustainable price." On the other hand, Sanofi is looking for the world's first vaccine for dengue fever to provide it with a boost as other areas of the business are suffering. Analysts have forecast it will hit $1.4 billion in sales by 2020.

Sanofi Pasteur CEO Olivier Charmeil

"We are making dengue a preventable disease, which makes us incredibly proud," Bloomberg reports Olivier Charmeil, head of Sanofi's vaccine unit, as having said.

While Sanofi is first targeting middle-income countries with lower healthcare budgets but more need, Charmeil told the Wall Street Journal the company expects to file for approval in Europe in 2016, and in the U.S. in 2017.

- read the Bloomberg story
- get more from WSJ (sub. req.)