) recently received encouraging news when its meningococcal
serogroup B vaccine B (MenB) vaccine, Bexsero, was approved in
Australia, for use in age groups of two months and above.
We note that Bexsero was approved in the EU earlier this year
for use in children over two months old.
As per Novartis, meningococcal disease causes approximately
50,000 deaths on an annual basis due to infection from five
serogroups-A, B, C, W-135 and Y.
Novartis' meningococcal franchise consists of three vaccines -
Bexsero, Menjugate and Menveo. We are encouraged by the recent
pipeline progress at Novartis with both Bexsero and Menveo.
Earlier in the month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) approved the label expansion of Menveo thereby allowing the
use of the vaccine for protection against meningococcal disease
in infants and toddlers aged 2 months and above.
With the label expansion, Menveo can now be used in infants,
children and adolescents.
Other meningococcal vaccines under development include
MenABCWY (serogroups A, B, C, Y and W-135), which is currently in
We believe the label expansion of Menveo and approval of
Bexsero in early 2013 will strengthen Novartis' meningococcal
franchise and boost results going forward.
In 2012, Novartis' Vaccines and Diagnostics Division generated
net sales of $1.9 billion, down 7% year over year.
Influenza vaccines are the core products of this division,
which includes brands such as Fluvirin, Fluad, Agrippal, Optaflu
Novartis expects to file for the label expansion of Fluad for
use in adults aged 65 years and above later in 2013 and initiate
a phase III study on Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine.
) Menactra is indicated to treat meningococcal meningitis.
) Menhribrix is approved for prevention of invasive disease
caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroups C and Yand
Haemophilus influenzae type b.
Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Right
Biogen Idec Inc.
) looks attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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