Could This be the End of Flu Shots? - Updated

April 20, 2018

Vaxart announced on 4/20/18 that it received notification from Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd, that sales of Inavir, a single inhaled dose product licensed in Japan to prevent or treat influenza infection, exceeded ¥20 billion in the fiscal year 2017, triggering a $5 million milestone payment to Vaxart. The payment is expected in the second quarter of 2018 and is in accordance with the terms of the 2009 Commercialization Agreement between Daiichi Sankyo and Biota Pharmaceuticals, a company recently acquired by Vaxart.

Vaxart is also developing an oral tablet influenza vaccine. In January of 2018, Vaxart announced that its oral influenza vaccine had achieved favorable results compared to the market leader injectable vaccine. Specifically, only 37 percent of the Vaxart subjects developed influenza infection compared with 44 percent who received the injectable QIV and 71 percent who received placebo. In the analysis that was performed by BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

“These results suggest that our tablet vaccine has the potential to provide superior protection against influenza,” said Wouter W. Latour, M.D., chief executive officer of Vaxart. “Combined with the favorable safety profile and the convenience of a tablet, we believe that our oral influenza vaccine will offer invaluable advantages over currently available injectable vaccines, and could help increase vaccination rates and reduce the significant morbidity and mortality caused by influenza, a major public health objective.”
Vaxart received a $13.9 million contract from BARDA in September 2015 to support the advanced development of more effective influenza vaccines to ultimately improve seasonal and pandemic influenza preparedness. The contract was increased to $15.7 million in 2017.

Since its launch in 2010, Inavir  (laninamivir octanoate) has become the leading treatment for influenza in Japan. The product is taken via a single inhaled dose, which can be more convenient than other flu medications that require several days of dosing. Inavir® is sold in Japan by Daiichi Sankyo and has been approved for both treatment and prevention of the influenza A and influenza B viruses.

As of this writing Vaxart is up over 13% in pre-market trading.

Correction: The article previously incorrectly stated that Inavir is a tablet. Inavir is a single inhaled dose product.

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