UNITED KINGDOM — AstraZeneca has announced a strategic focus on meeting the surging demand for its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) drug, Beyfortus, in the United States, as the cases of RSV outpace the current supply.

The decision to prioritize the U.S. market was confirmed by AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot during an interview at the Reuters office in New York.

Soriot revealed that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had requested additional doses of Beyfortus, co-developed with French drugmaker Sanofi.

The CEO acknowledged the increasing demand for the medicine globally, emphasizing that the volume is expected to significantly rise next year.

Despite the CDC’s silent response to requests for comments, the urgency surrounding Beyfortus is underscored by Sanofi’s acknowledgment of an “unprecedented level” of demand for the drug, as reported by Reuters.

The surge in RSV cases in the U.S., reaching 4,952 cases by November 4th, has prompted the CDC to issue alerts, advising physicians to prioritize those under 6 months of age or with underlying health conditions.

RSV, a leading cause of hospitalization among infants, has led to 1% to 3% of children under 12 months being hospitalized in the U.S. annually, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Before Beyfortus’s approval, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum’s Synagis was the sole approved preventive therapy in the U.S. for high-risk infants.

The RSV drug market is projected to exceed US$9 billion in sales by 2029, driven by recent advancements in preventative measures, according to GlobalData.

The year 2023 witnessed the approval of two RSV vaccines, Arexvy by GSK and Abrysvo by Pfizer, marking a pivotal moment in addressing the disease.

AstraZeneca’s Beyfortus, the world’s first recombinant monoclonal antibody for preventing RSV in infants, received approval in July 2023, contributing to the forecasted surge in RSV drug sales.

GlobalData’s Sales and Forecast tool predicts that Arexvy will dominate the market, generating over US$2.5 billion in sales by 2029.

Pfizer’s Abrysvo, still awaiting EU approval, is forecasted to achieve US$1.7 billion in sales, securing third place behind Moderna’s mRNA-1345.

The mRNA-based vaccine, awaiting approval in Australia and the EU, is expected to experience exponential growth, reaching US$2.4 billion in sales by 2029.

AstraZeneca’s Beyfortus, with global sales projected at US$1.27 billion, holds a significant position in the market, serving as a crucial preventative measure during infants’ first RSV season.

These four therapies collectively contribute to 90% of the forecasted RSV market sales in 2029, driving the market from US$781 million in 2023 to an estimated US$9.09 billion in 2029.

In a parallel development, AstraZeneca is making strides in the weight-loss drug market, signing an exclusive licensing agreement with Eccogene for an experimental drug, ECC5004, targeting obesity and type 2 diabetes.

This move aligns with AstraZeneca’s commitment to addressing cardiometabolic conditions, and if successful, the once-daily pill could offer a more accessible treatment option compared to currently available injectable options in the market.

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