Home health remedies JPM22, Day 2: GlaxoSmithKline’s ‘landmark year,’ Novavax’s boosting plans and more

JPM22, Day 2: GlaxoSmithKline’s ‘landmark year,’ Novavax’s boosting plans and more

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The 40th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference rolls on today with virtual presentations and Q&A sessions from some of the biggest names in biopharma. Be sure to check in throughout the day to get the latest happenings from the virtual conference.

To look back at Fierce Pharma’s coverage from Day 1, click here. And check out Fierce Biotech’s coverage here.

UPDATED: Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 9:35 a.m. ET

While late to the races in the U.S., Novavax’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine still has a major role to play around the world, Silvia Taylor, senior vice president, global corporate affairs and investor relations at Novavax, said in an interview. The company predicts most of its vaccine demand will come from three groups of individuals: Those who’ve yet to receive their first series of shots; people who need boosters; and kids. Weighing that trinity of primary, booster and pediatric need, there are some 5 billion “doses of demand” in the high-income market alone, Taylor said. Moving into middle- and lower-income countries, many of which have lower vaccination rates, that demand increases to more than 6.5 billion doses, she said.

For the primary vaccination market, Novavax predicts that its shot, based on an established vaccine platform, could help counter hesitancy among the unvaccinated. Novavax’s shot is “built on a well-understood technology platform that has been used in other vaccines, like HPV,” Taylor said. For those who haven’t been vaccinated due to lack of access, Novavax has pledged around 1.1 billion doses of its vaccine to the World Health Organization’s equitable vaccine distribution scheme COVAX. On the booster front, “there’s an emerging body of evidence, not only from studies done by others, but from our own that we seek to grow, that shows we can be used as a booster,” Taylor said, referring specifically to heterologous boosting, in which a person receives a follow-up shot that’s different from their initial jab.

Novavax’s shot is one of many being studied in COV-Boost, a U.K.-based “mix-and-match” trial that’s evaluating heterologous boosting in people who previously received two doses of an authorized vaccine. Additional data from that study is expected in 2022, Novavax said in its presentation at this year’s virtual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

UPDATED: Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 8:40 a.m. ET

After GlaxoSmithKline last summer detailed plans to spin off its consumer health group in the middle of 2022, CEO Emma Walmsley opened the conference Tuesday by saying the U.K. pharma giant is ready for a “landmark year.” After the spinoff, GSK’s consumer health group is set to become the top overall consumer healthcare company globally, with 10 billion pounds ($13.58 billion) in annual sales and 23,000 employees worldwide. The independent company will sell 20 brands with annual sales of 100 million pounds or more, and its products will reach consumers in 100 countries. 

As for what’s left after the split, New GSK is gearing up for 5% annual sales growth through 2026 and is targeting operating profit growth of more than 10% over that period, Walmsley said. The pharma- and vaccines-focused conglomerate aims to haul in 33 billion pounds ($44.8 billion) in annual revenues by 2031. To get there, the company is counting on strong growth from its vaccines and specialty medicines franchises, while consumer healthcare is expected to stay “broadly stable.”

The GSK team has flexed its scientific muscle in recent months and years, Walmsley said. The “compelling” phase 3 results for daprodustat to treat anemia from chronic kidney disease should enable a regulatory submission “in the coming months,” the CEO noted. Plus, the company has a “potentially best-in-class” monoclonal antibody for COVID that’s designed to fight all potential variants. Lastly, the U.S. approval for long-acting Apretude ushers in a new dynamic in the effort to prevent HIV. 

A big part of GSK’s growth story going forward will center on shingles vaccine Shingrix. Recently, though, mRNA stars Pfizer and BioNTech unveiled a plan to go after that disease target with their vaccine tech. Asked about the potential competition on Wednesday, GSK execs said any new entrant will have a high efficacy and safety bar to clear to vie for share against Shingrix.

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