- Until recently, Novartis owned the meningitis B vaccine Bexsero, and was in a price stand-off with the British government over the product. GlaxoSmithKline has now struck the UK government deal that eluded Novartis.
- Britain will be the first country to have a nationwide vaccination program for meningitis B.
- GSK and Novartis completed a three-part asset swap earlier this month worth more than $20 billion. As part of the deal, GSK became the owner of Novartis' vaccine franchise, including Bexsero.
In the wake of meningitis B outbreaks in the U.S. in the last few years, there is now greater awareness of the threat of this viral infection, especially among young people. In fact, in Britain, meningitis B is the biggest cause of meningitis, leading to death in 10% of cases and long-term disability in 36% of cases.
Currently, Bexsero is the only licensed meningitis B vaccination in the U.K.. However, another vaccine, Trumenba from Pfizer, is currently under regulatory consideration.
Pricing details are confidential. But both GSK and the British government have expressed satisfaction with the agreement for Bexsero pricing. UPDATE: The price agreement is reportedly about $30 per dose.