Merck & Co. has presented data from a phase 3 trial showcasing the potential of its pneumococcal vaccine candidate, V116, to rival Pfizer’s current market dominance in vaccines of this nature. In the United States, Prevnar 20 (Pfizer’s vaccine) currently commands a dominant 95% share. However, Merck contends that V116 offers broader protection, making it a strong competitor.
JoinAStudy investigator Dr. Peter Dzongowski was involved in this series of trials, and we would like to extend a massive thank you to him and his clinic patients. They have played an important role in collecting the data that is critical in Merck’s ability to reach this conclusion.
In a phase 3 trial involving adults aged 50 and older, V116 showed just as good of an immune response as Prevnar 20 for all 10 common strains. Additionally, V116 showed superior immune responses for 10 out of its 11 common strains, a marked advantage over Prevnar 20. Notably, eight of V116’s covered strains have no existing vaccines for protection, comprising around 30% of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in individuals aged 65 and above.
While V116 covers one strain more than Prevnar 20, Merck emphasizes that this translates to approximately 30% more protection against IPD. Even when compared to other candidates in development by competitors like GSK (Vaxcyte, and Affinivax), Merck asserts that V116 provides superior coverage, aiming for an 85% protection rate versus 60% for other vaccines in development.
The broader strategy behind V116 is part of Merck’s initiative to introduce a “precision medicine mindset” to vaccines. Dean Li, President of Merck Research Laboratories, highlighted V116 and its approved pediatric counterpart, Vaxneuvance, as key components of this strategy. The goal is to deliver vaccines that target the right strains at the appropriate stage of life, challenging existing perceptions and driving a shift in thinking around pneumococcal vaccination.
As Merck prepares to file for global approvals, these promising trial results position V116 as a formidable contender in the pneumococcal vaccine market, potentially disrupting Pfizer’s long-standing dominance with Prevnar 20.
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