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Glaxo, Pfizer, J&J and Sanofi Expected to Grab Biggest Shares of RSV Vaccine Business

Size of market for respiratory illness shot expected to reach $10.5 billion by 2030

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Sep 09, 2021
  • GlaxoSmithKline expected to own 25% of business by 2030.
  • Pfizer may have advantage over competitors because of work on Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Sanofi applying unique technology to develop its shot.
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GlaxoSmithKline PLC (

GSK, Financial) is forecasted to carve out more than 25% of a vaccine market that is expected to reach $10.5 billion by 2030. FiercePharma reported three other members of big pharma are also in line to be rewarded for developing a shot for respiratory syncytial virus, with Pfizer Inc. (PFE, Financial) raking in $2.1 billion, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, Financial) adding $1.7 billion to its top line and Sanofi SA (SNY, Financial) pocketing $1.2 billion.

Vaccine developers have been trying to come up with a shot for RSV for years with no success. It appears that’s about to change, SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges wrote in a note to clients. He thinks RSV vaccines currently in the late stages of testing could hit the market as early as 2023.

Other vaccine makers earlier in the testing stage include Bavarian Nordic A/S (

BVNRY, Financial) and Covid-19 heavyweight Moderna Inc. (MRNA, Financial). They are expected to earn $2.6 billion of the overall market.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says RSV is the number one cause of pneumonia in children under one, and in a typical year kills 100 to 500 children under five years old and 14,000 adults 65 years or older. It is spread via respiratory droplets or contact with a contaminated surface. While the virus usually comes on in the fall in the United States and peaks in the winter, cases have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. During an unusual summer RSV season, pediatric hospitals reported infections around the Southern United States, the CDC warned in June.

GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are all taking similar approaches to develop a vaccine. Meanwhile, Sanofi, the leading vaccine company in the world, is pursuing a different tack, working with partner AstraZeneca PLC (

AZN, Financial) on a prophylactic monoclonal antibody for infants, and they plan to file for approval next year.

Porges thinks the vaccines from Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson should hit the market at about the same time and work in much the same way. Pfizer may have a leg up on the competition because of its experience with the Covid jab. Last week, the company began a phase 3 trial of its RSV vaccine in adults 60 and older. Pfizer could have results of the tests by the first quarter of 2022, wrote Porges.

GlaxoSmithKline expects to have information about its trial in the second half of next year, while J&J has yet to set a timetable.

By 2030, Porges expects that 72% of the RSV market will come from adults, while 10% from maternal immunization—or vaccinating mothers to protect their babies—and 18% from infants.


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