GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (GSK Pharma) has stepped up its focus on its vaccine business with a price cut in its top-selling pneumonia vaccine. It has also lined up two product launches for next year.
GSK Pharma does not participate in government vaccination programmes in India, but is a market leader in many vaccine categories in the ‘self pay’ or non-government segment with an overall market share of 28 per cent.
In September, GSK Pharma completed the acquisition of Novartis’ vaccine business and the sale of its oncology business to the Swiss drug major in a global deal. Following the deal, GSK Pharma expanded the vaccine portfolio and absorbed around 120 employees from Novartis to ramp up its sales in India.
Last week, GSK cut the price of its pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Synflorix) by 40 per cent to Rs 1,400 per vial with an aim to increase consumer access and widen its market share. Synflorix is used for immunisation of infants and children against diseases including sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. GSK Pharma competes with Pfizer in this vaccine segment.
The company has also sought regulatory approval to launch two new paediatric vaccines in India. These vaccines would be launched next year, industry sources said.
The ‘self pay’ or non-government segment for vaccines has industry-wide annual sales of Rs 1,500-1,800 crore, according to IMS data.
Industry sources say GSK Pharma's existing vaccines portfolio contributes Rs 300-350 crore in revenues, about 20 per cent of the overall revenue.
“The acquisition of Novartis’ vaccines business provides us with an exciting opportunity to build an even stronger, sustainable global vaccines business. The transaction with Novartis enhances GSK’s vaccines portfolio and brings together its expertise in virology, bacterial infection and technological platforms to deliver a reliable supply of high quality vaccines,” said a GSK Pharma spokesperson.
Its existing portfolio includes vaccines for influenza, chickenpox and Hepatitis A and B. It will now get access to Novartis’ vaccine business, especially on rabies and meningitis.