EU approved Sanofi vaccine

Laboratories are increasingly looking to develop a combined influenza/Covid vaccine. Stephan de Sacutin/AFP

This is the epilogue of a soap opera that has been running for two years: the Covid-19 vaccine from the French laboratory Sanofi has finally been approved by the European Union, joining several other serums already approved. Following a positive opinion issued by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Commission has given the green light as a booster dose to VidPrevtyn Beta, a drug based on so-called recombinant protein technology jointly developed by Sanofi and Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline. This vaccine, which has shown positive results against the Omicron variant in clinical trials, is formulated with a Beta variant antigen and a GSK adjuvant.

Species Prevtin Beta is indicated for revaccination in adults who have previously received a Covid-19 messenger RNA or adenovirus vaccine, the lab says. The doses are ready for distribution in the European Union and the United Kingdom under pre-purchase agreements covering 70 million doses, he said.

“A booster dose of VidPrevtyn Beta should be no less effective than Comirnaty (by Pfizer) in restoring protection against Covid-19,” the EMA said in a statement.

This new serum complements the serums already approved in Europe by the German-American tandem Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Novavax and Valneva. But before getting there, his journey was littered with traps. It also drew a lot of criticism from Sanofi, as the lab, which is still the world’s vaccine specialist, fell behind its competitors.

Although he originally promised a billion doses in 2021, they never came to fruition due to dosage issues during clinical trials. At the same time, Sanofi was also trying to develop a Covid vaccine using messenger RNA technology before finally giving up.

Conversely, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech brought their vaccines to market in record time. By the end of 2020, their serums using innovative RNA technology were approved in Europe, nearly two years ahead of Sanofi. “This is, admittedly, a failure (…) compared to the speed that was needed,” admitted Sanofi President Serge Weinberg before the general meeting of shareholders in May. In response, the group has invested heavily in messenger RNA, gaining the key to an RNA vaccine research facility being developed in the Lyon area.

What market?

If such an epilogue was to be expected, could a new vaccine, just approved, take its place in this market, which is already largely dominated by other laboratories? Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech have already taken the lion’s share. In 2021, for example, Pfizer made $36 billion from its Covid vaccine.

Production around the world has even reached such levels that manufacturers have already stopped production due to lack of demand, such as the Serum Institute of India. In France, while the eighth wave of Covid is underway, health authorities are only recommending a booster dose to people at risk of severe disease. Thus, for the specialists of the pharmaceutical sector, the battle has already taken place.

Even Moderna cut its 2022 sales forecast for its Spikevax vaccine a few days ago, which will bring in between $18 billion and $19 billion, two to three billion less than originally expected. For its part, the Franco-Austrian laboratory Valnev announced that it was going to cut staff, eliminate up to a quarter of the posts after the cessation of production of its own vaccine against Covid-19, authorized by the European Union. .

Unless Sanofi sharpens its weapons for a potential flu/Covid combination vaccine, a project that others like Pfizer and Moderna have already embarked on.

Julie CAPEL, Marie-Morgan LE MOLE / AFP

Source: L Orient Le Jour

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