EC approves Novartis' Menveo conjugate vax

Just a few weeks after gaining an approval from the FDA, Novartis says that officials from the European Commission have provided a continental OK for its meningitis vaccine blockbuster Menveo.

Menveo is a quadrivalent vaccine, covering meningococcal group A, C, W135, and Y conjugate. It's the first vaccine to cover four-out of five--major conjugates of meningitis, says Novartis, which gained an approval to use the vaccine to protect adolescents and adults. Novartis plans to expand that age group later as it gathers more data on the jab.

Analysts say that Menveo is poised to reap more than a billion dollars in annual sales within the next few years as it penetrates the world's key drug markets. Novartis is particularly pleased that it's been successful developing new conjugate vaccines, which involves attaching a polysaccharide antigen--the key component of a vaccine that prompts the body to respond to infection--to a carrier protein in order to enhance the body's immune response to the vaccine.

"Marketing approval for Menveo for people ages 11 and older is the culmination of 10 years of dedicated effort by Novartis Vaccines to provide a vaccine that can  help protect against meningococcal disease," said Andrin Oswald, Division Head of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.

- check out Novartis' release

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