Pfizer's next-gen Prevnar 20 can be administered with a flu shot, study finds

As Pfizer gears up for its next big vaccine launch in Prevnar 20, the company is touting positive top-line results for a co-administration trial with a seasonal flu shot. The results, coming just ahead of the flu season, could give the company's new vaccine an early boost.

In a phase 3 co-administration study, both Pfizer's Prevnar 20—the company's follow-up to pneumococcal shot Prevnar 13—and an unnamed seasonal flu vaccine elicited responses that were similar to those observed when the vaccines were given one month apart, Pfizer said. Safety findings matched up to the vaccines' expected profiles, as well.

A total of 1,727 participants completed the trial at 66 sites. Pfizer didn't release full details, but the drugmaker said the vaccines met the study's primary objectives. The company plans to publish detailed data in the future.

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Prevnar 20 scored FDA approval back in June to help protect against 20 different pneumococcal serotypes. The shot is going up against Merck's next-gen pneumococcal conjugate vaccine rival, Vaxneuvance, which targets 15 serotypes. Merck's rival won FDA approval about a month after Pfizer's vaccine did.

While Pfizer has a slight timing edge in the adult indication, Merck is seen as the front-runner in pediatric use. Market watchers expect Merck to file for approval in children by the end of the year, with Pfizer following in 2022.

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Will the results of Pfizer's new study give it an edge just ahead of the cough, cold and flu season? The new research findings "could make it more convenient for patients to make one appointment to protect themselves against two serious respiratory illnesses," Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Louise Chen wrote to clients Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Pfizer is also running a co-administration trial testing Prevnar 20 with a booster dose of its massively successful COVID-19 vaccine in people 65 and older. Pfizer COVID-19 boosters just started last weekend after federal officials gave the green light.