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Pfizer (PFE) C. Difficile Vaccine Positive in Phase II Study

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Pfizer Inc.PFE announced positive top-line results from a phase II study on its investigational vaccine candidate, PF-06425090, for the prevention of clostridium difficile infection, which includes life-threatening diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis.

The phase II, randomized, placebo-controlled, observer-blinded study was designed to examine the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of the candidate in more than 850 healthy adults aged 65-85 years. Interim results from the study demonstrated strong increase in vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies to both toxins which can provide protection against clostridium difficile infection. The company will progress the candidate into phase III development in the first half of 2017.

However, shares of Pfizer have underperformed the Zacks classified Large Cap Pharma industry year to date. The stock lost 3.7% during the period, while the industry registered a decline of 1.8%.

As per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, the disease affected approximately 453,000 people in the U.S. (associated with 29,000 deaths) in 2011. Current treatment options do not provide long-term protection. Hence, if successfully developed and eventually approved, Pfizer's candidate has the potential to capture a large portion of the market share. However, note that several other companies are developing their own vaccine candidates for the prevention of clostridium difficile infection.

Notably, Pfizer possesses one of the world's leading vaccine operations, which generated total sales of approximately $4.5 billion in the nine months ended Oct 2016, almost in line with the year-ago period figures. The company's lead product in the vaccine portfolio is Prevnar 13, indicated for the prevention of various syndromes of pneumococcal disease. It contributed to approximately 93.6% of total sales from the vaccine portfolio in the last reported quarter - third quarter of 2016.

Pfizer has also been focused on making prudent acquisitions aimed at strengthening its vaccine portfolio. Wyeth's Consumer Healthcare unit, which holds a strong position in the U.S. and international markets, was a nice addition to Pfizer's portfolio. Pfizer realized synergies of more than $4 billion from the Wyeth acquisition. In Dec 2014 the company acquired Baxter's portfolio of marketed vaccines for a final purchase price of $648 million. The acquired assets consist of NeisVac-C and FSME-IMMUN/TicoVac vaccine which help protect against meningitis.

Pfizer, Inc. Price

Pfizer, Inc. Price | Pfizer, Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Pfizer currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Exact Sciences Corporation EXAS , Enzo Biochem, Inc. ENZ and Anika Therapeutics, Inc. ANIK . While Exact Sciences and Enzo sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Anika carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Anika's earnings estimates increased from $2.09 to $2.10 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted a positive surprise in all of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 33.14%.

Enzo Biochem's loss estimates narrowed from 17 cents to 16 cents for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted a positive earnings surprise in three of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 22.50%.

Exact Sciences' earnings estimates narrowed from $1.72 to $1.70 for 2016 and from $1.41 to $1.38 in 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted a positive earnings surprise in all of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 14.12%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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