CDC's ACIP recommends higher dose, Seqirus, Sanofi flu vaccines in adults 65 and older
Higher dose or adjuvanted seasonal flu vaccines are better for older adults, according to a CDC advisory committee’s recommendation.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday unanimously recommended (15-0) three flu vaccines for adults over the age of 65: Seqirus’s Fluad and Sanofi’s Fluzone and Flublok. Flublok was originally developed by Protein Sciences, which then became Sanofi’s when the Big Pharma acquired the company in 2017 for $650 million upfront and $100 million more in milestones.
The standard-dose unadjuvanted, inactivated vaccines do not perform as well in older people with weakened immune systems, ACIP said, while these other recommended vaccines could provide better and/or longer protection. This would be the first time the government has stated a flu vaccine preference for older adults.
Current recommendations are that every American over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccine every flu season.
Seqirus celebrated the news, with CMO Gregg Sylvester saying in a statement that the company was “proud to offer one of the enhanced flu vaccines” recommended by ACIP.
Sanofi’s US medical director Christopher Rizzo also said in a statement:
We are encouraged that the ACIP has recommended tailored influenza vaccines for adults 65+, and believe this is the first step in creating clearer guidance on protection against the flu for this high-risk population. We are hopeful this recommendation will mean more adults 65+ will be immunized with a flu vaccine that is best suited for their needs.
Sanofi’s flu programs are big money, with its 4 programs making the French pharma more than $2.7 billion in 2021.
The new development comes just two weeks after Seqirus completed a $156 million expansion of its vaccine manufacturing facility in North Carolina.