| March 12
March 12 Pfizer Inc's Prevnar 13
vaccine, designed to protect against pneumonia, performed well
in a large-scale trial among elderly patients, boosting the
chances of strong sales of the blockbuster product, analysts
The trial, whose results were announced on Wednesday, cut by
46 percent initial episodes of pneumonia acquired outside of
hospitals from infection with a common family of bacteria.
The study also showed that adults aged 65 and older who were
immunized with the vaccine were 75 percent less likely, compared
with patients taking placebos, to develop "invasive" infections
in the bloodstream with Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, with
or without pneumonia. That secondary goal of the trial was
achieved by an impressive margin.
Meeting another secondary goal, there was a 45 percent
reduced incidence of first situations in which the pneumonia was
caused by the bacteria, but the bacteria were not detected in
the bloodstream or any other normally sterile site in the body.
Pfizer last month said Prevnar 13, used mainly to prevent
infections with the bacteria in young children, had met primary
and secondary goals of the 85,000-patient trial, called CAPiTA.
But the largest U.S. drugmaker, at the time, did not provide
clinical data from the study, which was conducted in the
Prevnar 13, sold under the brand name Prevenar 13 in many
markets outside the United States, is one of Pfizer's biggest
products. It and an older version of the vaccine known as
Prevnar 7 have combined annual sales of $4.4 billion, making
them the company's second-biggest franchise.
J.P. Morgan analyst Chris Schott on Wednesday said he
expects $300 million of Prevnar 13 sales in the adult population
in 2015, thanks to the "robust" data in the CAPiTA study,
growing to $1.5 billion over time.
Alex Arfaei, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, was far
more bullish. He called the results of the trial "positive and
better than our expectations" and predicted adult sales of
Prevnar 13 would reach $4.1 billion in 2016.
Arfaei, in a research note, predicted especially strong
demand among adults outside of the United States in countries
where smoking and other factors make people more vulnerable.
Infections from the bacteria are often referred to as
Pfizer shares were little changed in morning trading on the
New York Stock Exchange.