MVA-BN respiratory syncytial virus vaccine could get first-to-market opportunity in China, says GlobalData

Bavarian Nordic has recently announced an exclusive license and supply agreement with China’s Nuance Pharma to develop and commercialize their candidate MVA-BN respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine in adults in China Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, and Southeast Asian countries. Leveraging Nuance Pharma’s local presence could provide a unique first-to-market opportunity for MVA-BN RSV in China, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

RSV is the most common viral cause of respiratory tract infections in newborns, young children, older adults, or the immunocompromised. According to GlobalData’s ‘Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): Forecast in Asia-Pacific Markets to 2028*’, the annual growth rate for number of adults hospitalized for acute respiratory illness with laboratory-confirmed RSV in Urban China is estimated to be 6.16% for 2021-2028.

Dr. Pavan Sunkireddy, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “In China, ribavirin is the only marketed drug, as the prophylactic antibody Synagis (palivizumab) is not approved yet. However, ribavirin cannot be used in pregnant women and is rarely used in RSV in general as data supporting its efficacy are lacking. Also, the high cost and complicated delivery through prolonged aerosol administration has limited the widespread use of ribavirin.”

According to GlobalData’s ‘Pharmaceutical Intelligence Center’, there are about nine potential candidates in Phase III evaluation for treatment/prevention of RSV globally. In China, only two drugs, AK-0529 and nirsevimab, are in Phase III and a vaccine candidate MVA-BN RSV is in Phase II trials for RSV.

The pipeline is stratified into different segments including different age groups, therapeutic and prophylactic strategies. The pipeline candidates are likely to significantly impact the current prophylactic/treatment landscape for RSV in adults and pediatric patients.

Dr. Sunkireddy concludes: “MVA-BN RSV has a significant opportunity to address the unmet need of a prophylactic option in China for RSV in adults. However, this still leaves an unmet need for prevention options among infants and younger children at high risk of RSV infection. Given China’s huge population and MVA-BN RSV vaccine  only being tested in adults, there is a great opportunity for other potential drugs and vaccines in China provided they are cost-effective, easy to administer, and address all age groups.”

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