Small flu vax players poised to win 'sizable' share of market, firm predicts

GlobalData predicts that small vaccine players will be able to win up to 25% of market share by 2025.

As new flu vaccine technology emerges in the coming years, smaller players will have a shot at stealing market share from the world leaders who have for years had a hold on the market.

That’s the word from GlobalData, which predicts smaller companies such as Protein Sciences, Mitsubishi Tanabe and Novavax will be able to extract a quarter of total flu vaccine sales or more with new cell manufacturing technology. To do that, they’ll need to wrestle share from Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and other top vaccine companies that have for years controlled the seasonal flu market with egg-based vaccines.

Flu vaccines have seen significant change with Novartis’ exit from the industry, according to GlobalData’s director of infectious diseases Christopher Pace. Now, Seqirus is the only top player to market a cell culture-based vaccine, Flucelvax Quadrivalent, and an adjuvanted seasonal influenza vaccine, Fluad.

Though bigger players aren’t likely to lose total control, companies making cell-based seasonal flu vaccines “are likely to capture at least 25% of market share” in leading countries by 2025, Pace said in a statement. The firm predicts sales for seasonal flu shots will hit $4.3 billion by that year, up from $3.1 billion in 2015.

But while GlobalData gives Protein Sciences a chance and other companies a chance to “carve out a sizable niche,” CEO Manon Cox previously told FiercePharma she’s after much more than just a portion of the market.

Protein Sciences believes its Flublok Quadrivalent “is really going to be the product of choice in time," Cox said, adding that she believes it’ll eventually "take over.” Protein Sciences is seeking marketing partners for its cell culture vaccine.

One development that could hold an impact on the market is the CDC's decision this year to recommend against any use of AstraZeneca's quadrivalent FluMist for the current flu season. The company is working to bring the nasal vaccine back to the market for future seasons.

Mitsubishi Tanabe is working on a tobacco-based flu vaccine that could hit the market by 2018 or 2019; GlobalData infectious diseases analyst Achilleas Livieratos has previously said such a shot could have a “significant” impact on the seasonal market if approved.

Novavax’s nanoparticle influenza vaccine program is in early development stages.