As a dangerous flu season unfolds in the U.S., flu vaccine specialist Seqirus grew sales 26% in the six months leading up to Dec. 31, driven by its portfolio shift to differentiated vaccines.
Seqirus has experienced some increased demand from the severe flu season but its growth is more a result of a shifting product mix. The company is focusing on "higher value" products such as its cell culture quadrivalent shot Flucelvax and its adjuvanted flu vaccine Fluad, a spokesperson told FiercePharma via email.
For the period, the company reported (PDF) $791 million in sales, up from $620 million last year.
Fluad sales grew 130% over the same period last year to $129 million, while quadrivalent vaccine revenues leapt 504% to $308 million. Sales for Seqirus' trivalent vaccines fell 47% to $171 million.
Despite the strengths to start out the fiscal year, CSL noted the business is seasonal and that the unit is expected to be "loss making" in the second half.
A unit of Australia's CSL, Seqirus formed back in 2015 after CSL joined its bioCSL unit with Novartis' flu vaccine business, picked up in a $275 million deal. The company is the second-largest flu vaccine provider behind Sanofi and the first to make cell-culture shots on a commercial scale at a time when egg-based flu vaccine efficacy has come into question. GlaxoSmithKline is also a major flu vaccine manufacturer.
Speaking with FiercePharma at last month's J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, CSL CEO Paul Perreault said Seqirus' North Carolina manufacturing site will produce 20 million cell culture flu vaccine doses this year, up from just a few million doses when CSL acquired the site from Novartis.
While it can tout strong results this year, Seqirus has reason to be optimistic for next year as well. In a recent boost for the vaccine maker, health officials in the U.K. endorsed Fluad as the only recommended flu vaccine for people 65 and older next year.