Pharma turns to small developers for vax tech

Paul Bogorad at Putnam Associates is bullish about the vaccine business. Reviewing the now familiar story line about Big Pharma's embrace of vaccines after years of neglect, Mass High Tech relates how Bogorad assesses the up-and-coming cadre of small vaccine developers in New England, which is providing much of the new technology that will drive innovation in the field.

Bogorad points out that some independent developers will likely go down the same M&A path as Acambis, which was bought out by Sanofi Pasteur in 2008 for about $548 million. And then MHT shifts to the story of Xcellerex, which provides outsourced manufacturing services as it advances new vaccines in its pipeline. Xcellerex has a Phase I under way for a new yellow fever vaccine.

"Right now, it's a $100 million market," CEO Joe Zakrzewski says of the travel vaccine market. "But 90 percent of the people who need the yellow-fever vaccine don't get it, because the risks of the current vaccine are too high. So we love it when people say the market is small. We think it could be $1 billion."

But vaccine gambles don't always pay off, as Protein Sciences can attest to. The FDA rejected its flu vaccine last fall.

- here's the report from Mass High Tech