The updated Novavax shot, which was authorized in the U.S. last month, targets a descendant of the XBB lineage of the coronavirus that was globally predominant earlier this year.
The mRNA-based shot was initially approved as a booster in August, becoming Japan’s first home-grown shot for the coronavirus.
Looking beyond the coronavirus business, the company has renewed its focus on a growing development pipeline in oncology, which includes use of the mRNA technology pioneered in the vaccine as well as precision anti-cancer drugs from a class known as antibody-drug conjugates and therapies based on modified immune cells.
As vaccines for COVID-19 and, for older people, RSV and pneumococcal disease join the annual flu shot as routine care recommendations for adults, healthcare professionals are increasingly concerned over getting the word out, vaccine fatigue and logistical hurdles. Biopharma companies are betting there will be a market for vaccines that combine protection against two or more diseases in a single jab.
Moderna should hit the lower end of its sales target for this year as it only needs to tap a small portion of the private market with its COVID vaccine to reach that goal, according to industry analysts.
Pfizer on Tuesday reported its first quarterly loss since 2019, as demand fell for its COVID products and it recorded a hefty charge mainly from the U.S. government returning millions of doses of its antiviral treatment Paxlovid.
“This vaccine has the potential to lessen the impact of two respiratory diseases with a single injection and may simplify immunization practices,” Annaliesa Anderson, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development, said in a statement.
The updated shots target the XBB variant.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the updated vaccine last week for emergency use in individuals aged 12 years and older, but batches of the shots needed additional clearance from the FDA before they could be released.
The company supplied its COVID vaccines to the EU during the pandemic, but the contract for its Omicron-adjusted vaccines ended in August last year and was not renewed.