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Why Wyeth's Talking Up Vaccines

Executive Summary

Given the near-term generic threats to over a third of its US drug revenues and two late-stage set-backs last year, Wyeth's vaccines business--basically the $3 billion-and-growing pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar--matters more than ever before. So, then, does eliminating an imminent competitive threat from GlaxoSmithKline, and a swift switch to follow-on Prevnar 13 in 2010. Indeed, vaccine chiefs at the other four big players-Sanofi-Aventis, Merck & Co. Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC, and Novartis AG-are likely to become more prominent, too. Vaccines may still account for only a small minority of revenues at these Big Pharma, but most saw far healthier growth in their vaccines business in 2007 than in therapeutics. That's why Sanofi, according to recent media reports, is out looking for vaccine acquisitions.

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