GlaxoSmithKline's investigational shingles vaccine maintains efficacy across age groups: study

GlaxoSmithKline reported Tuesday study results showing that its experimental vaccine candidate for the prevention of shingles maintained efficacy across age groups, from 50 years to 70 years and over. Data from the ZOE-50 trial, which were presented at the Scientific Congress of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious diseases (ECCMID) and published in the NEJM, showed that a two-dose schedule of HZ/su reduced the risk of herpes zoster by 97.2 percent in adults aged 50 years and older compared to placebo.

In the ongoing study, 16 160 adults aged 50 years and older were randomised to immunisation with HZ/su or placebo, given in two doses separated by an interval of two months. The primary endpoint of the trial was the overall vaccine efficacy of HZ/su across all age cohorts versus placebo in reducing the risk of developing shingles.

In the trial, no significant difference in vaccine efficacy was observed across the different age cohorts, as HZ/su reduced the risk of shingles by 96.6 percent among participants aged 50 to 59 and by 97.4 percent in those aged 60 to 69. Additionally, the vaccine efficacy of HZ/su was 97.6 percent in subjects aged between 60 and 69, and 98 percent in those aged 70 or older. Meanwhile, the rates of serious adverse events, potential immune-mediated diseases or deaths were similar between the treatment arms.

Moncef Slaoui, chairman of global vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline, remarked "we are extremely encouraged that the results may point out a health benefit in the prevention of shingles," adding "we look forward to continuing the development of our Zoster programme." The drugmaker stated that additional trials to assess the efficacy of HZ/su in preventing shingles in patients aged 70 and older are under way.

Commenting on the news, Goldman Sachs analysts said that the efficacy of HZ/su across different age groups could give the investigational vaccine an advantage over Merck & Co.'s Zostavax. The analysts added that HZ/su could amass as much as 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in annual revenue.

HZ/su combines gE, a protein found on the virus that causes shingles, with the AS01 adjuvant system containing Agenus' QS-21 Stimulon.

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