Disease Analysis: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines

Disease Analysis: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines

  • May 2020 •
  • 31 pages •
  • Report ID: 5843159 •
  • Format: PDF
Latest key takeaways

Worldwide vaccination programs for human papillomavirus (HPV) have evolved substantially over the last decade. There are currently three approved vaccines for HPV: Cervarix, Gardasil, and Gardasil 9. Merck and Co’s Gardasil, a quadrivalent vaccine, was first-to-market with its debut in 2006, narrowly ahead of the 2007 release of GlaxoSmithKline’s rival bivalent vaccine, Cervarix. Both vaccines are based on the recombinant expression of major capsid antigen L1 from different HPV serotypes, which self-assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs). In 2014, Gardasil 9, a nine-valent vaccine capable of protecting from an additional 20% of HPV-related cancers, superseded Gardasil.
Since the launch of the first HPV vaccine in 2006, the market has seen steady growth, with global sales rising from $235m in 2006 to $2.3bn in 2016. This growth was attributed to the launch of vaccination programs in most major markets, centered on the treatment of girls aged 9–14 years and catch-up vaccinations for females aged 15–26 years. In the last two years, the HPV market has experienced unprecedented growth, and it looks set to continue this upwards trajectory. Key growth drivers include the expansion of vaccination programs to include males aged 9–26 years in major markets such as the US, UK, and Germany, rising pressure to increase coverage rates for HPV vaccination globally, and the introduction of national programs in new markets such as China. Indeed, Merck and Co attributed its $850m sales boost in 2018 to a successful launch in the Chinese market. The introduction of additional national HPV vaccination programs is projected to sustain considerable growth in the HPV market, so much so that Merck and Co has invested $1.68bn into two manufacturing plants to meet global demand for the HPV vaccine.
There remain significant factors that will limit growth of the HPV market over the next five years. One such factor is that vaccine manufacture is currently lagging behind global demand. To combat this, Merck and Co recently announced plans to establish two new manufacturing plants that should be completed by 2023.
The Gardasil franchise has always held market-leader status because of its wider serotype coverage and preferential reimbursement from payers, and with little competition from Cervarix or any major threats from pipeline candidates, it will maintain its lead for the foreseeable future.
Cervarix was the second-to-market vaccine and has experienced a sharp decline in sales from a peak of $800m in 2011, triggered by direct competition with Gardasil over market share. The global sales gap between the Gardasil franchise and Cervarix has continued to widen from $398m in 2011 to $2,964m in 2018, driven largely by preference for Gardasil 9 in major and emerging markets, and this trend is expected to continue as Gardasil 9 continues to gain uptake in the lucrative Chinese market. Sales of Cervarix have now stabilized at approximately $180m, and while the vaccine will continue to lose share in major markets, the rise of emerging markets presents opportunities for Cervarix to achieve sales growth in the near future. In particular, a shortage of supply of Gardasil 9 in emerging markets has presented GlaxoSmithKline with a small window of opportunity to drive use of Cervarix until Merck and Co can increase its supply of Gardasil 9 to meet growing demand.
Currently, there is only a single clinical pipeline candidate (in Phase I) in the HPV market, being developed by 2A Pharma outside of the US. This vaccine is based on the L2 protein, which is more conserved across different strains of HPV; the company aims to utilize this feature to generate a pan-protective vaccine. It is highly unlikely that this vaccine will gain approval during the five-year forecast period.
At the start of 2020, China’s regulator approved Cecolin, a generic HPV bivalent vaccine produced by the Chinese firm Innovax. The generic vaccine is set to be the first of a series of vaccines developed by the company, including generics for the quadrivalent and nonavalent HPV vaccines. The analyst’s discussions with KOLs indicated that there are several companies generating HPV vaccines in China and India, but their approvals in the US and EU are unlikely. There are no pipeline candidates in the US for HPV, however, there is a single pipeline candidate being developed in Europe by 2A Pharma. 2A Pharma is developing an L2 vaccine which it hypothesizes will be pan-protective based on the higher conservation of the L2 capsid protein between HPV strains. The company claims the vaccine will have broader coverage, will not require adjuvants, and will have a low production cost.