Pfizer tests 1st Lyme disease vaccine candidate in 20 years

After two decades of no available Lyme disease vaccine, Pfizer is vying to enter the market with a $25 million phase 3 trial for its candidate.

The New York City-based pharmaceutical company is partnering with Valneva, a French specialty vaccine company, to test its Lyme disease vaccine candidate VLA15 among people 5 and older in Europe and the U.S., according to an Aug. 8 press release. 

Nearly 35,000 people in the U.S. reported contracting Lyme disease in 2019, but estimates predict this number is closer to 476,000, according to the most recent data available from the CDC. In June, research published in BMJ Global Health found that 14 percent of the world's population have had the tick-borne disease, indicating that cases are rising. 

Although the most recent Lyme disease vaccine, which GSK developed and sold, was discontinued in 2002 because of low sales, Pfizer's senior vice president and head of vaccine research and development expects demand will improve this time. 

"With increasing global rates of Lyme disease, providing a new option for people to help protect themselves from the disease is more important than ever," Annaliesa Anderson, PhD, said in a statement. 

If the vaccine proves effective, Pfizer said it expects it to become available in 2025.

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