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Sanofi’s (SNY - Analyst Report) vaccines division, Sanofi Pasteur, recently announced that the data from the pivotal trial of Menactra (meningococcal groups A, C, Y and W-135 polysaccharide diphtheria toxoid conjugate vaccine) has been published by the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (PIDJ).

In the trial, Menactra demonstrated a promising efficacy profile as two-dose vaccine for infants and toddlers aged between 9 months and 23 months. It was observed that the use of Menactra provided protection against four clinically meningococcal strains.

We note that the Food and Drug Administration used data from the above mentioned pivotal trial to approve Menactra in April 2011. Menactra was first approved in 2005 as meningococcal conjugate vaccine for people aged between 11 years and 55 years. In subsequent years, the product’s label was expanded to include infants above 9 months.   

In the third quarter of 2012, Menactra generated sales of €208 million accounting for approximately 14% of total vaccines sales at Sanofi. In the US, Menactra sales inched up 0.6% to €195 million.

Meningococcal disease, which includes meningitis, is estimated to affect about 800 to 1,200 people in the US annually. About 10% of the affected people could die and survivors could be afflicted by permanent disabilities like hearing loss, neurological damage and limb amputations. Currently, approved vaccines for meningococcal diseases include GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK - Analyst Report) MenHibrix (meningococcal groups C and Y and haemophilus b tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccine).

We are pleased with the company’s efforts to develop its pipeline. We expect Sanofi to continue to contain operating costs in order to increase earnings in the face of weakening sales of some of its biggest products. We also expect the company to pursue bolt-on acquisitions.

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