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GSK sales of RSV vaccine stay strong, beating forecast

GSK on Wednesday reported higher-than-expected sales of its RSV vaccine Arexvy, providing further evidence of the product’s strong uptake.

The shot brought in 1.2 billion pounds, or about $1.5 billion, last year, notably higher than the range of 900,000 to 1 billion pounds GSK previously forecast. The company’s fourth quarter earnings report showed its vaccine business grew by 24% in 2023, compared to the prior year. Arexy’s launch played a large role in that growth, as did continued adoption of GSK’s shingles vaccine Shingrix.

Last May, Arexvy received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in adults 60 years or older, becoming the first preventive vaccine for RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus. Pfizer followed quickly behind, securing a similar approval of its RSV shot Abrysvo several weeks later.

So far, GSK’s launch appears to outperforming Pfizer’s. On Tuesday, Pfizer reported Abrsyvo sales of $515 million for 2023.

GSK said it has won around two-thirds share of the U.S. market, where almost all Arexvy sales were recorded. The vaccine is available in all major retail pharmacies and, according to the company, about 6 million of the roughly 83 million U.S. adults 60 years or older have received Arexvy.

“We remain very confident this vaccine can achieve more than £3 billion in peak year sales over time,” said GSK’s chief commercial officer, Luke Miels, on an earnings call Wednesday.

A leading cause of respiratory illness each year, RSV has quickly become a large vaccine market with the launch of the two shots. Moderna aims to join in with a competing vaccine for older adults, and expects to hear from regulators on approval in the first half of 2024.

For Pfizer and Moderna, success in RSV is viewed on Wall Street as an important step toward offsetting some of the sharp sales declines the two companies have seen due to waning demand for their COVID-19 shots.

GSK, meanwhile, aims to build its market lead, and is seeking a expanded approval of Arexvy in adults aged 50 to 59 in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

The company reported 30.3 billion pounds in 2023 sales, and said it anticipates growth between 5% and 7% this year. It also upgraded its longer-term outlook, predicting sales growth of higher than 7% through 2026.