Interview Synopsis

Influenza vaccines - next-generation mRNA vaccines & market update - part 2

  • Public Equity
  • Healthcare
  • North America

As a new flu season begins, the development of mRNA flu vaccines are bringing “significant advantages” to patients and investors, a former VP at GlaxoSmithKline told Third Bridge Forum.

Development of mRNA flu vaccines are a “transformative event”

The Interview, the second of a two-part Interview on flu vaccine efficiency (see part one here)- focused on the potential of mRNA technology in flu vaccines, the development of Novavax’s NanoFlu vaccine, as well as the possibilities of administering flu and COVID-19 vaccines together.

The specialist said mRNA flu vaccine development is a “transformative event” that can improve efficiency compared to traditional egg-based inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccines. Novavax’s flu vaccine, NanoFlu, is currently going through comparative testing with an egg-based vaccine, and the specialist called it “another great flu vaccine” as countries prepare for a harsher flu season this year.

NanoFlu is particularly interesting, as reports suggest Novavax wants to combine it with its own COVID-19 vaccine, and the specialist said that it is “fantastic that they can be co-administered”. The specialist said the UK would be a good example where combining vaccines would be popular, citing a preliminary study that showed 97% of people responding favourably.

While that may be true of the UK, the specialist said more research was needed to assess other markets. The US was cited as one country where combining vaccines may not be popular, given the high levels of scepticism some Americans have about vaccines, and that combining them might lead people to thinking they “have been rushed through”. 

The specialist also mentioned the impact bundling vaccines might have on profits, saying their value could be diluted. Flu vaccines are “already a pain to make money [from] … because they are so commoditised,” and combining them might cut profit margins further, the specialist said.

However, the specialist was more bullish on the prospect of mRNA flu vaccines from an R&D perspective, stating that the technology brings “absolutely mind-blowing, significant advantages in response speed, but also in capital investments that are much, much, much lower”. Despite this, the specialist was unsure whether mRNA vaccines could demand a higher premium than egg-based vaccines if they have similar efficiencies, questioning whether consumers were buying a better product, or simply “paying more money for a flu vaccine just because it comes in shiny new technology?”

To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s Influenza vaccines – next-generation mRNA vaccines & market update – part 2, click here to view the full transcript.

The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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