Effective marketing needed to ensure uptake of Merck's newest HPV vaccine, report finds

New vaccine, V503, protects against five additional strains of virus

LONDON — An experimental human papillomavirus vaccine made by Merck could offer a boost to the vaccine market, but the company will have to use effective marketing efforts to ensure uptake, according to a new study.

The London-based research and consulting firm GlobalData said Merck's V503 vaccine, currently in phase-3 clinical trials, had strong potential because it protects against five HPV types not covered by current vaccines and demonstrates 97% efficacy against precancerous lesions caused by the additional virus types it contains.

"The introduction of a new vaccine offers an opportunity to rejuvenate the HPV vaccines marketplace, which is currently inhabited by Merck's quadrivalent vaccine, Gardasil, and GSK's bivalent offering, Cervarix," GlobalData infectious disease analyst Robert Wilson said. "However, a number of challenges remain within the marketplace. These need to be overcome to allow V503 to realize its full potential, and the vaccine itself may be part of the solution."

GlobalData said that uptake of Gardasil among eligible girls in the United States has stagnated at about 50% despite marketing by Merck, as well as marketing by GSK of Cervarix, due to a general lack of awareness of HPV and the benefits of vaccines for the infection.


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