) continues to develop its vaccines franchise after having
divested its diagnostics unit last week.
The company reported positive interim results from a phase I
trial on its influenza vaccine being developed for the H7N9 avian
It was observed that approximately 85% of subjects (n=400
aging 18-64) showed a protective immune responds after two doses
of the 15 ug MF59 adjuvanted vaccine.
Influenza vaccines are the core products of this division,
which includes brands such as Fluvirin, Fluad, Agrippal, Optaflu
and Flucelvax. Novartis' meningococcal franchise consists of
three vaccines - Bexsero, Menjugate and Menveo.
We remind investors that the vaccines and diagnostics business
generated net sales of $1.3 billion in the first nine months of
2013, up 8% from the year-ago period.
Novartis aims to focus better on its strategic business and
hence the company decided to divest its diagnostics business. We
believe the divestment of the diagnostics unit is a step in the
right direction as Novartis can invest resources to further
strengthen its vaccines franchise.
Earlier in 2013, Novartis' meningococcal serogroup B (MenB)
vaccine, Bexsero, was approved in the EU for use in children over
two months old. In addition, 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
We are encouraged by the recent pipeline progress at Novartis
with its vaccines franchise.
Novartis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right
now, stocks like
Johnson & Johnson
) look attractive. All three carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
BAYER A G -ADR (BAYRY): Free Stock Analysis
FOREST LABS A (FRX): Free Stock Analysis
JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis
NOVARTIS AG-ADR (NVS): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.