Beyond COVID-19: The top vaccine programs to watch in 2020

Pharma companies are advancing a range of novel and next-gen vaccines. (Getty Images)

With a pandemic spreading globally, vaccines are suddenly big news. While the focus rightfully centers on COVID-19 vaccine candidates moving at record speeds, biopharma companies haven’t given up on their other promising programs.

With that backdrop, FiercePharma is highlighting the top late-stage vaccine programs to watch in 2020, outside of COVID-19. Analytics group Avalere helped with initial research to produce the list.

The list includes candidates in diseases entirely without vaccines, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and C. difficile, plus next-gen versions of existing immunizations, such as combination meningitis shots and pneumococcal vaccines that cover a broader list of serotypes.

We’re also featuring a late-stage HIV vaccine—a field where scientists have been trying for decades to develop a safe an effective shot, but have instead faced setback after setback.

Most of the vaccines reside at global pharmaceutical companies, but two late-stage flu programs from smaller companies, BiondVax and Novavax, also made the cut.

RELATED: Pfizer execs see blockbuster opportunities throughout vaccine pipeline, beyond pneumonia and COVID-19

Beyond this list, there’s plenty more innovation in biopharma pipelines around the globe. Cytomegalovirus vaccines from Merck & Co., Fortress Biotech, Hookipa and Moderna are in phase 2 testing, and Moderna recently said it plans to start a phase 3 study in that disease next year.

Behind the phase 3 RSV programs highlighted in this report, GlaxoSmithKline, J&J and Bavarian Nordic are advancing midstage candidates.

Elsewhere, GeoVax has an earlier-stage HIV vaccine, while Valneva is working on a phase 2 C. diff shot. Plus, new Ebola vaccines from Merck and Johnson & Johnson have recently won regulatory approvals, marking a milestone in the fight against that disease.

Please enjoy the report and let us know your thoughts. — Eric Sagonowsky