Pfizer's Prevnar 13 sales set for decline as patient pool shrinks, report says

Pfizer’s vaccines business has enjoyed tremendous growth, thanks to the superstar pneumococcal blocker Prevnar 13. But that growth could be tough to sustain, as a new report predicts the world’s best-selling vaccine to lose some steam by 2022.

EvaluatePharma’s new World Preview report tallied $6.3 billion in Prevnar sales last year, but it’s predicting that number will fall to $6 billion by 2022. EP expects annual sales for the shot to decline in each of the next 5 years by 1%.

“We are talking about a product that has been growing significantly over the last 5 years, and while it will remain the main contributor of Pfizer’s vaccines portfolio, achieving year-on-year growth will be ever more challenging,” EP head of forecasting Antonio Iervolino told FiercePharma via email.

The New York pharma got a huge boost back in 2014 when a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee recommended Prevnar 13 for adults over 65. But, based on a figure the company cited during a recent conference call, 30% of U.S. adults over 65 have already been vaccinated, Iervolino said.

In this year’s second-quarter results, Pfizer said lower Prevnar 13 revenues in the U.S. partially offset growth in other meds. Compared to last year’s second quarter, the company had a “smaller remaining ‘catch up’ opportunity” due to high initial uptake, according to the release.

Still, the vaccine could see a boost from a recently expanded FDA approval in adults 18 to 49, Iervolino noted. The expansion brings Prevnar’s label closer to a CDC committee recommendation in 2012 that adults 19 and older with immunocompromising conditions receive the vaccine.

Pfizer’s vaccines enjoyed 40% year-over-year growth or more each quarter of 2015, achieving a 44% increase for the full year. After an 18% jump in this year’s first quarter, Pfizer management said they believed Prevnar sales in 2016 will be similar to 2015.

EvaluatePharma predicts Merck’s HPV vaccine Gardasil to come in at No. 2 among the world's top-selling vaccines by 2022 with $2.47 billion, significantly trailing Prevnar's pole position. Sanofi’s flu vaccine Fluzone and DTaP/Hib/polio shot Pentacel follow at Nos. 3 and 4, with GlaxoSmithKline’s DTP/hep B/polio vaccine Pediarix expected to come in at No. 5.

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