Approval has been granted to Novartis for the very first vaccine that would fight meningitis B, according to Reuters. Now, the company is looking to convince countries struggling with cash to add it to their routine vaccination programs so that the drug can become a success commercially.
“Novartis is working with health authorities to provide access to Bexsero as soon as possible,” the company said on Tuesday.
As of right now, there is no vaccine that offers broad protection against meningitis B, which is caused by bacteria that causes inflammation of brain lining and the spinal cord. Meningitis B can cause someone to die within 24 hours.
“We don’t expect a rapid ramp-up for Bexsero, since Novartis will need the support of each single E.U. member state to obtain inclusion into the national immunization program and the reimbursement scheme,” Kepler Capital Markets analyst Fabian Wenner said.
The market in Europe for Bexsero is expected to range from $600 to $700 million, which is much lower than Novartis’s best-selling drug, Diovan. Diovan posted sales of $5.7 billion back in 2011. The drug is for blood pressure.
“Diovan monotherapy is yet to see generic and multiple generic competition in the U.S., while consensus estimates for the new respiratory franchise are likely too high,” Wenner said.
According to medical data, close to 10 percent of people who contract meningitis B die even if they receive appropriate treatment. Close to 20 percent of the survivors suffer disabilities ranging from brain damage to hearing impairment.