The 2013-14 flu season is set to be the most closely watched in years. In February, FDA cleared the use of quadrivalent vaccines which protect against two A and two B strains. GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca began gearing up, and Sanofi will now join them too.
Being the largest company by any number of measures--revenues, earnings, those kinds of yardsticks--is a good thing. Being the largest by number of employees is trickier, unless yours is also the largest by those other measures. As we have seen time and again in recent years in the pharma industry, having lots of employees and falling revenues is a formula that leads to layoffs. As a whole, the top 10 companies had fewer employees at the end of 2012 than at the end of 2011. Read the full report >>
With the books closed on 2012, we can confirm--as expected--that a majority of the major FDA vaccine approvals went to trivalent influenza vaccines. (The FDA is continuing this trend with the first vaccine approval of 2013 going to Flublok.) Manufacturers, after all, need to reformulate them each season. But two new quadrivalent flu vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca also joined the ranks, scheduled to hit the market later this year. Read more >>
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At the cancer conference ASCO, researchers reported weak Phase III results for a telomerase peptide vaccine, GV1001, in pancreatic cancer patients. Most other cancer vaccines presented at the conference are at earlier stages of development.
The lung cancer vaccine race has brought together an unusual mix of players. Merck KGaA was in a good position, but its vaccine disappointed in Phase III, while GlaxoSmithKline could report data on its candidate this year. Then there is the Cuba-Argentina joint venture.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge are talking up the potential of a vaccine to stop traveler's diarrhea.
Stockpiling vaccines requires authorities to peek into the future. When H1N1 was causing panic in 2009, the U.S. predicted it would need 160 million vaccine doses. But demand never took off, and the U.S. destroyed 40 million out-of-date vaccines in 2010.
In the first 5 months of 2013, 857 deaths were reported in countries under enhanced surveillance.
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