In a recent statement, GSK CEO Emma Walmsley expressed her delight at the successful launch of the company's respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, Arexvy. Positioned as the next big asset for the company, the vaccine has demonstrated significant potential for growth in sales in the coming years, making it a key player in the pharmaceutical market.
Launched in the U.S., the vaccine has reached 3 million of the approximately 80 million adults at risk, specifically those aged 60 and above. Achieving FDA approval in May 2023, the vaccine has been authorised for use in adults aged 60 years and older. Walmsley anticipates that Arexvy “will be more than £1 billion in its first year, (it) has lots of headroom for growth.”
GSK's third-quarter earnings report revealed Arexvy's remarkable performance, capturing two-thirds of retail vaccinations in the country and contributing $859 million in its first full commercial quarter. This impressive figure constitutes 10% of the company's total sales, underscoring vaccine's significance in the company's portfolio.
Emphasizing the growth potential, Walmsley noted that of the 83 million eligible adults only 1.4 million had received an RSV shot, indicating a substantial market opportunity for the vaccine. The company plans to extend its market reach by targeting young adults aged 50 to 59, who face a higher risk of RSV disease due to certain medical conditions.
In comparison, Pfizer's RSV vaccine, Abrysvo, received FDA approval just a month after Arexvy in June 2023. However, despite commendable sales of $375 million, Abrysvo lags behind the vaccine, which has generated more than double that figure. Pfizer's CFO, David Denton, expressed disappointment in Abrysvo's performance, acknowledging challenges in achieving the expected market share.
Sanofi and AstraZeneca have also entered the RSV market, launching Beyfortus (nirsevimab), a single-dose monoclonal antibody treatment approved in July 2023, According to Sanofi's third-quarter financial report, Beyfortus made nearly $150 million, showcasing the success of alternative approaches in combating RSV in infants and children.
GSK's Arexvy has undoubtedly emerged as a frontrunner in the RSV vaccine market, with robust sales, market dominance, and a strategic expansion plan. As the company continues to navigate the competitive landscape, the vaccine's success highlights the critical role pharmaceutical innovation plays in addressing global health challenges.