WHO injects Prevnar 13 with adult prequalification status

The World Health Organization (WHO) granted prequalification for Pfizer's ($PFE) Prevnar 13 in adults over the age of 50, expanding the global market for the pharma company's pneumococcus conjugate vaccine.

Thanks to the milestone decision, countries can obtain the vaccine to protect its older citizens against pneumonia, upping both the vaccine's demand and Pfizer's potential sales figures. As reported in FiercePharma, Pfizer will increase manufacturing capacity for Prevnar 13, which analysts predict will generate $4.42 billion this year and $6.75 billion by 2016. Pfizer will also invest in a multi-dose vial, which will be helpful in developing nations if approved for use.

In a statement, Pfizer's vaccines VP Luis Jodar said Prevnar 13 is the first and only pneumococcal vaccine to be granted WHO prequalification for adults.

"This expanded designation will allow for broader global access to the vaccine and provide the opportunity for a new prevention option for adults 50 years of age and older in developing nations," he said.

Prevnar 13--known as Prevenar 13 in most nations--is already approved in 110 countries for infants and young children. But only about 70 countries, including the U.S., approve it for adults over 50.

While approved in the U.S. for adults over 50, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee is hesitant about recommending the vaccine for older individuals. It awaits data from a Dutch study before making a decision, which is expected to come next year.

- here is the release
- read more from FiercePharma