After 20 years of research and development on a vaccine against the mosquito-borne viral disease known as dengue, pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur SA of France has now produced a vaccine it believes will be both effective and extremely profitable, according to The Financial Times. In a recent article, the newspaper quoted Sanofi Pasteur’s chief executive, Olivier Charmeil, as saying, “The dengue vaccine will be in the high end of profitability among our vaccines.” The newspaper reports:
Vaccines struggle to generate as much excitement among investors as higher-margin pharmaceuticals, such as cancer drugs. But Sanofi hopes that its dengue product will demonstrate their potential to produce as big a benefit for shareholders as they do for public health.
The product, CYD-TDV, is apparently a live-attenuated tetravalent vaccine which addresses all four strains—DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4—of the disease. It was developed in a “novel” manner, reports The Financial Times, using the yellow fever vaccine as a “vehicle” but replacing “components” so that the body recognizes the virus in the vaccine as dengue. According to Sanofi Pasteur dengue division chief Guillaume Leroy, “The engine is the yellow fever virus but the bodywork is dengue.”
The Financial Times piece notes that Sanofi Pasteur’s parent company, Sanofi SA, is planning to launch CYD-TDV later this year and have it licensed in 20 counties, with a total population of 1 billion people, and that Charmeil estimates the potential market at between 3-4 billion people. It will be the first dengue vaccine in the world. The nearest competitor would be a dengue vaccine being developed by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. of Japan—the largest pharmaceutical firm in Asia. But, according to The Financial Times, work on that vaccine is at least five years behind the Sanofi product.
The cost of Sanofi Pasteur’s CYD-TDV has not been publicly announced, but The Financial Times reports that Sanofi’s pricing strategy “suggests” it will be at a level to “encourage wide uptake.”
Read the full July 20, 2015 article “Sanofi confident dengue drug will benefit patients and investors” in The Financial Times.