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Pfizer Says Study Backs Use of Top Vaccine in Older Children

Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine Prevnar 13, used to prevent pneumococcal diseases, was effective in children ages 5 to 17 in a study that may help increase its use, the company said.

Pfizer has been seeking to increase sales of Prevnar 13 by expanding use beyond the approved groups of children 6 months to 5 years and adults older than 50. The treatment was New York-based Pfizer’s third-best-selling medicine in 2011, with $3.66 billion in revenue. It will be Pfizer’s top product in 2013, according to an average of two analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“We are excited about the potential to further define the clinical utility of Prevnar 13 with the aim of seeking to broaden prevention efforts to additional age groups,” said Emilio Emini, chief scientific officer of vaccine research for Pfizer. The study examined 598 patients ages 5 to 17 years old.

Pneumoccocal diseases are most dangerous for the very young and very old, as well as people with heart and lung diseases, diabetes, or HIV, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Among children older than 5, the most likely to benefit from the vaccine are those with conditions that put them at more risk from illnesses, like heart and lung concerns, diabetes, or HIV, said Robert Frenck, director of clinical medicine at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study.

Along with expanded approvals, Pfizer is seeking to have Prevnar 13 added to the CDC’s vaccine schedule for people over 50, which would increase use of the treatment.

Pfizer gained less than 1 percent to $21.54 at the close in New York.

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