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Flu Vaccination Rates Disappointing

Posted: December 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Flu Vaccination Rates Disappointing

Every flu season is different. Strains evolve and influenza vaccine manufacturers alter their formulas to meet those changes, covering the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most prevalent during a given season.

But despite the wide availability of a vaccine–the U.S. FDA green-lighted influenza vaccines from 6 vaccine manufacturers this year–the illness remains a killer. Between 1976 and 2007, estimates of the number of flu-associated deaths range from 3,000 to 49,000, the Centers for Disease Control reports. About 90% of those deaths happened among people ages 65 and older.  

Further, vaccination rates last year fell far below the CDC’s target rates of 80%, coming in at around 42%. About 39% of adults were vaccinated during the 2011-2012 influenza season, compared with 75% of children between the ages of 6 months and 23 months and just more than a third of adolescents.

This year, a total of 135 million doses of influenza vaccine will be on hand.

So, what do these less-than-stellar vaccination rates mean for sales? Looking at actual worldwide 2011 sales numbers and estimated worldwide 2012 sales numbers provided by EvaluatePharma, it seems sales as a whole are only slightly up for the top 10 best-selling flu vaccines.

Novartis will likely see the biggest jump in sales of its OptaFlu vaccine; the company reported $36 million in 2011 sales and EvaluatePharma projects $71 million in 2012 sales. Sanofi’s and Sanofi Pasteur MSD’s Fluzone (sold as Vaxigrip outside the U.S.) will likely bring a $10 million jump in sales, from $1.333 billion in 2011 to a projected $1.343 billion this year.

The outlook isn’t all promising for the top 10, though. Abbott Laboratories’ Influvac will probably see a $10 million drop, from $198 million in 2011 sales to an estimated $188 million in 2012. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma’s BIKEN HA vaccine will also lose out, slumping by $6 million from $114 million in 2011 sales to a projected $108 million in 2012.

“The changing world demographic provides a definite opportunity for companies offering flu vaccines, as populations age and chronic conditions become more prevalent,” Moser said. “With this trend towards an older, less healthy population, demand should continue to increase for flu vaccines for the foreseeable future, with a non-specific vaccine that can protect against ever-evolving influenza strains being the holy grail in this space.”

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Cancer Vaccines Advance to Phase IIb

Posted: October 23rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Cancer Vaccines Advance to Phase IIb

CureVac, a biotech company pushing therapeutic cancer vaccinesinto Phase IIb studies, landed a cool $104 million from German multibillionaire Dietmar Hopp’s investment group, Dievini Hopp BioTech Holding.

Image representing CureVac as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Image representing dievini Hopp Biotech Holdin...

Image via CrunchBase

CureVac will use the hefty sum to advance the development of its two lead RNActive cancer vaccines against prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.  The company will also use some of the funds to further develop its prophylactic vaccines and adjuvants for infectious diseases.  The first task will be to run a Phase IIb study on prostate cancer vaccine CV9103, CureVac CEO Ingmar Hoerr told FierceBiotech.

To date, CureVac has raked in about €145 million ($189 million) in equity financing.

“Our technology is based on a major new understanding of the medical potential of mRNA, and our novel mRNA vaccines and RNA-based adjuvants may transform the treatment of many debilitating diseases, including prostate and lung cancer, as well as the prophylaxis of many infectious diseases,” Hoerr said.

Last September, CureVac and Sanofi Pasteur inked a deal to develop and apply the RNActive technology platform to the development of vaccines against several infectious diseases.  In another deal, the two companies–along with France’s In Cell Art–undertook a $33 million DARPA research program to identify and create a universal vaccine technology platform for infectious diseases.

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Vaccine Manufacturers Begin Production of 2012-2013 Flu Vaccine

Posted: September 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Vaccine Manufacturers Begin Production of 2012-2013 Flu Vaccine

The FDA green-lighted influenza vaccines from all 6 vaccine manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute in theU.S., making way for the 2012-2013 flu season.

The products from the big 6–CSL, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), ID Biomedical, AstraZeneca’s ($AZN) MedImmune, Novartis ($NVS) and Sanofi Pasteur–will include strains for A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus, A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus and B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus. The H1N1 virus matches what manufacturers included during the last season, but the H3N2 and B viruses differ.

Sometimes the virus strains predicted to circulate and those that actually make the rounds don’t line up. But even if the vaccines and circulating strains aren’t identical, the vaccines can reduce the severity of the illness or help prevent influenza-related complications, according to an FDA release.

“The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated each year,” said Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “It is especially important to get vaccinated this year because two of the three virus strains used in this season’s influenza vaccines differ from the strains included in last year’s vaccines.”

Seasonal influenza kills more than 36,000 people and hospitalizes 200,000 more each year in the United States, according to National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Vaccine Company Fights Antitrust Allegations

Posted: September 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Vaccine Company Fights Antitrust Allegations

Sanofi Pasteur may find itself in the thick of an antitrust case after a judge ruled that a lawsuit alleging that the company illegally monopolized the market for meningococcal vaccines in theU.S. can move forward.

Sanofi

Sanofi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In December, several doctors said the company created a “web of noncompetitive contracts” with physician buying groups that blocked competition in an effort to sell its vaccine MenactraPharmalot reports. Using its market authority, Sanofi grouped price contracts, forcing purchasers to buy 90% or more of childhood vaccines to avoid potential cost penalties on Menactra, according to the news service. So, in theory, a buyer could end up paying 15% to 35% more for all Sanofi vaccines if they elect not to buy Menactra. The doctors surmise Sanofi’s idea here was to promote its Menactra vaccine after Novartis ($NVS) joined the game with rival Menveo.

Furthermore, the lawsuit says the doctors were told, under contract, not to purchase vaccines from other makers–such as GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Novartis–or they would face penalties.

A Sanofi Pasteur spokesman wrote to Pharmalot, “naturally we are disappointed in the judge’s ruling, but we are confident that once the court sees the evidence of competition in the marketplace, it will rule against the plaintiffs. We continue to defend our company and our product, and we maintain that allegations in the class action complaint are without merit.”