CSL May Win Australian Support to Widen Gardasil Vaccine Use
CSL Ltd. (CSL), the Australian distributor of a vaccine used to protect girls from a virus that causes cervical cancer, may win government support to extend use of the shot to boys, UBS AG (UBSN) said.
CSL resubmitted a request last week to an Australian drugs panel to add the Gardasil vaccine to the national immunization program, UBS said in a report today. Evidence of its benefits in males may support a recommendation by the panel for its use in seventh-grade boys with a two-year catch-up program extended to ninth graders, they said.
UBS Sydney-based health-care analysts Andrew Goodsall and Dan Hurren increased by 1 percent their estimate for CSL’s per- share earnings for the year ending June 2013 and reiterated a “buy” recommendation on the stock. “While the total earnings uplift maybe modest, a positive Australia decision bodes well for global momentum,” they said.
Gardasil is distributed by Merck & Co. outside Australia and New Zealand. Melbourne-based CSL earns a 6.5 percent royalty on global sales of the vaccine, which is given routinely to girls. Gardasil aims to protect against sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV, that can lead to cervical cancer, genital warts, head and neck tumors and malignancies of the penis and anus in men.
CSL increased 0.7 percent, the most in three weeks, to end trading at A$30.40 on the Australian Stock Exchange today. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 2.4 percent.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, which is reviewing the CSL submission, is slated to release its decision on Dec. 16, CSL spokeswoman Sharon McHale said. She declined to comment on the possible outcome, as did Kay McNeice, a health department spokeswoman in Canberra.
Worldwide sales of Gardasil hit a peak of $1.48 billion in 2007 and declined for three consecutive years to $988 million last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization committee recommended last month that Gardasil be used in routine vaccinations for 11- or 12-year-old boys to reduce HPV transmission. The recommendation may not halt a three-year slide in sales because of the lingering perception that only girls need the vaccine, health plan executives said last month.
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