In the last two post-pandemic years and with a number of seasonal influenza vaccines available, the race for novel influenza vaccine candidates has slowed somewhat. Pipeline candidates try to address further unmet needs, but novel technologies might struggle against the uncertainty regarding the next pandemic influenza strain and the increasing commoditization of the influenza markets.
Novel products will further drive the commoditization of the influenza vaccine market and enhance the already fierce competition. It will also increase the pressure on innovative earlier-stage products such as DNA-based influenza vaccines which will have to show a clear benefit over existing products if they want to compete for market share.
Datamonitor identified 22 compounds in the clinical seasonal influenza vaccine pipeline, with a diminishing number of later-stage products. With 28 candidates in development, the pandemic influenza vaccine pipeline is more robust. However, this also reflects the prevailing uncertainty about which strains are most likely to cause another pandemic.
Pipeline influenza vaccines particularly try to address limitations associated with the amount of available vaccine, vaccine production timelines, strain coverage and vaccine efficacy. While a number of universal influenza vaccine candidates have reached clinical development, none has yet been able to progress beyond Phase II clinical trials.