Sanofi posts positive PhIII dengue data with eye on global vaccine lead

Sanofi Pasteur CEO Olivier Charmeil--Courtesy of Sanofi

Sanofi's ($SNY) eyeing the top spot in the world vaccines market, and new Phase III results for its dengue jab may just help it get there. The positive results bode well for the candidate's shot at an FDA nod, which could pad the French drugmaker's vaccines haul by more than $1.3 billion a year, analysts say.

In a study of 20,875 children aged 9 to 16 across 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 pharma giant said Wednesday. Included in those results was a 42.3% efficacy rate in blocking serotype 2, a viral strain that's evaded the vaccine in previous studies.

Olivier Charmeil, president and CEO of Sanofi's vaccines arm, lauded the results, noting that they'd be submitted to health authorities in countries where dengue threatens public health. Last month, company CEO Chris Viehbacher said he expects Mexico, Brazil and Colombia to be first in the launch line, with initial sales coming as early as next year's Q4; within Asia, he listed Singapore and Malaysia as priorities.

With nary a shot for the potentially deadly disease on the global market, Sanofi could have a staggering patient pool all to itself come 2015. Dengue infects up to 100 million people each year, the World Health Organization estimates, and the drugmaker says the malady is a threat to nearly half the world's population.

The result: about €1 billion ($1.31 billion) in yearly sales, analysts predict, a figure that could boost the company's top-line vaccines haul by nearly 20%. It could also help Sanofi claim the worldwide vaccines crown from Merck ($MRK), which led all vaccines makers last year with $5.77 billion in global sales.

- read Sanofi's release
- see FierceVaccines' take

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