Pfizer reads out first in another GSK vaccine duel

Respiratory syncytial virus is not the only infectious disease in which the huge vaccine businesses of Pfizer and GSK are duelling. They are also both racing to get the first pentavalent meningitis shot to market, and here Pfizer seems to have edged ahead. The US group today revealed the success of a pivotal study of MenABCWY, saying all primary and secondary endpoints had been met. The project demonstrated non-inferiority to licensed vaccines for the five meningococcal serogroups that cause the majority of severe disease; currently available shots include A, C, W and Y serogroups, with MenB licensed separately. GSK is gearing up to top-line results from a phase 3 trial of its pentavalent candidate; last year the developer included the project in a list of high value late-stage R&D assets, saying that the vaccine had peak sales potential of up to $2bn. Full results from both will be needed to assess the extent to which these products might disrupt the current market, which has long been dominated by Sanofi’s quadravalent jab Menactra. The French group is way behind in R&D – a MenB project is in phase 2 while a penta-project is due to enter the clinic next year.

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