Motavizumab failure shifts spotlight to RSV vaccines

The news this week that AstraZeneca ($AZN) is writing off its big motavizumab program for RSV has shifted the spotlight to a slate of earlier stage compounds as well as vaccines. The Wall Street Journal notes that both Novavax and NanoBio have preclinical RSV vaccines in the works that now stand to benefit from AstraZeneca's loss.

Motavizumab was intended to replace the blockbuster RSV drug Synagis, which could lose patent protection without a branded successor from AstraZeneca to take its place. Cubist and Alnylam have a mid-stage drug program in place and the early-stage vaccine programs could be worth substantially more in a licensing deal.

But don't write off AstraZeneca yet. Its researchers are also pursuing two Phase I/II trials for new RSV vaccines, giving them a lead in that development race.

- here's the report from the Wall Street Journal