After years of pinning its vaccine ambitions on meningitis B shot Bexsero, Novartis' FDA approval is here. But as it prepares to fork over the jab--along with the bulk of its vaccines business--to deal partner GlaxoSmithKline, there are other hurdles in the way of its success--including some new competition from Pfizer.
Novartis has long pinned its hopes on meningitis B shot Bexsero to revitalize its lagging vaccines unit. Now, the company is celebrating the product's FDA approval, even as it prepares to hand off the jab to GlaxoSmithKline in a blockbuster asset swap.
The U.K. and Novartis have been negotiating for months now on a fair price for the Swiss pharma's meningitis B shot, Bexsero, which the country plans to add to its childhood vaccination schedule. So what's the holdup?
Earlier this month, U.K. politicians asked Prime Minister David Cameron to explain why Novartis' Bexsero, approved as an addition to the country's childhood immunization schedule 8 months back, had yet to be covered by the National Health Service. Now, Cameron has asked Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to do the same--and Hunt is pointing the finger at the Swiss pharma.
As Pfizer's Trumenba rolls out in the U.S., it may get a head start on Novartis' Bexsero, which is still awaiting FDA approval. But the drug giant still doesn't yet have what it needs to build a considerable lead: a recommendation from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Ongoing price negotiations between the U.K. government and Novartis have so far kept the meningitis B vaccine Bexsero out of the public's reach, and now members of Parliament are asking where it is.
We have a winner. In a two-horse race to grab the first-ever U.S. approval for a meningitis B vaccine, Pfizer has emerged victorious, nabbing the FDA's blessing Wednesday.
What's the value of Novartis' meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, to the U.K.? It's a question the company and the country's government have been debating for months now, unable to come to terms on a reasonable price for the jab. But medical journal The BMJ might have an answer.
After initially leaving Novartis' meningitis B jab, Bexsero, off its national immunization program, the British government is now negotiating with the Swiss pharma over price--a series of events that's led a top Novartis Vaccines employee to tab the U.K. vaccination assessment system "flawed."
Let the negotiations begin. After pushing back on the price of Novartis' meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, the U.K. is coming to the table with the Swiss drugmaker to see if it can haggle down the cost to its health system.