Vaccines: Market on the Rebound - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Vaccines: Market on the Rebound
The vaccine business was safely inoculated against higher profits. But innovative therapies and looser government controls may spark an outbreak. Ready for opportunity?


Pharmaceutical Executive



Product Design and Manufacturing Economics
For relatively simple vaccine technologies with low annual demand, a margin of error lessened the impact of such decisions––a single fermenter might have been able to meet the entire annual demand for the vaccine and still have excess capacity. But manufacturing decisions will have a greater impact on the economics of new vaccines with more complex production processes and demand levels of, say, 25 million doses. For example, companies need to consider the manufacturing and capacity costs of various combinations of dosage and adjuvants for a new vaccine. In most cases, the efficiency of the manufacturing process will change the cost-benefit ratio of the drug, so manufacturing engineers need to have a say earlier in the development process. If antigen expression and yields are high, larger dosages will have a limited impact on capacity and cost. But the converse is also true (see "Product Design and Manufacturing Economics").


A Crowded Schedule
Product features and operational realities affect cost and capacity, so companies need to link marketing, product design, and operations—even choosing a different technology, adjuvant, or dosage—in order to benefit the economics of the vaccine.

The new wave of vaccine products represents enormous profit potential for companies and investors, as well as the opportunity to benefit millions of people. But companies will need to rethink their strategies and go-to-market approaches. That's what it will take to keep the vaccine market hot.

Andrew Pasternak, a Chicago-based director, Adam Sabow, a Chicago-based principal, and Andrew Chadwick-Jones, a London-based principal, are with Mercer Management Consulting. They can be reached at

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