Bavarian Nordic axes cancer vax, focuses on infectious disease

Feb. 21, 2024

Bavarian Nordic is on a mission to become "one of the largest pure-play vaccine companies in the world," but a cancer vaccine won't be part of that vision.

Along with its impressive preliminary financial results for 2023, the Danish drugmaker revealed that it plans to discontinue its only active cancer vaccine trial and will no longer invest in immuno-oncology vaccine development. Instead, Bavarian Nordic will focus its future R&D efforts on infectious diseases.

The axed study, TAEK-VAC, is a phase 1 open label trial of the drugmaker's tumor antibody-enhanced vaccine candidate in patients with advanced HER2 and brachyury-expressing cancers. According to Bavarian Nordic, the trial has "reached a stage where clinical expansion and further investments would be required."

The update came as Bavarian Nordic reported its "best-ever financial result in the company’s history," for 2023, driven by growth in travel health and smallpox/monkeypox vaccines.

A year ago, the drugmaker paid $380 million to acquire Emergent BioSolutions' travel health business, picking up approved vaccines for typhoid and cholera and a clinical candidate for chikungunya. Jynneos, the drugmaker's monkeypox vaccine approved in September 2019, saw a surge in sales following the 2022 outbreak.

Both businesses were key to Bavarian's reported $1.02 billion (DKK 7.06 billion) in full-year 2023 revenues, compared to $457 million (DKK 3.15 billion) in 2022.