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New GSK shingles vaccine off to strong start in key U.S. market

Reuters  |  LONDON 

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline's new - a as the company strives to improve its drugs line-up - has won more than 90 percent U.S. market share just five months after its launch, prescription-tracking data show.

The healthy take-up comes at the expense of & Co's older and less effective product Zostavax, which has seen a slump in demand.

The has recommended Shingrix over in adults 50 years and older, spurring demand for the GSK

analysts said on Tuesday the prescription data to mid-March implied "a very strong launch", even though the figures compiled by information company IQVIA capture only 50 to 60 percent of the market.

A declined to comment on the Shingrix launch ahead of the company's first-quarter results on April 25, when sales of the are likely to be a focus for investors.

Current consensus market forecasts point to Shingrix sales of less than 200 million pounds ($280 million) this year, which may prove to be an underestimate in the light of the positive market reception.

Zostavax's worldwide sales were $668 million last year and analysts are betting GSK can better that, with consensus for 2024 of $1.8 billion, according to data.

Adding to U.S. sales momentum is the fact that Shingrix can now be obtained at thousands of pharmacies, with CVS last month offering it at all its locations and Boots Alliance making it available at most and stores.

GSK has high hopes for Shingrix, which it expects to become its biggest single over time. The more than 100 million adults eligible for in the represent a key opportunity.

and her head have made sales of Shingrix in major markets a top priority as the British drugmaker adopts a more focused commercial approach.

The was also approved in and on March 23.

Shingrix is given in two doses, separated by two to six months, while is a single shot. Ensuring patients adhere to the two-shot regimen will be important in achieving the vaccine's full sales potential.

is caused by reactivation of the that is also responsible for Nearly all adults over 50 have the virus dormant in their nervous system and are at risk of it being reactivated with advancing age.

($1 = 0.7062 pounds)

(Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 10 2018. 22:29 IST