MARIETTA, Pa. — Malaria. Tuberculosis. Alzheimer’s disease. AIDS. Flu. Genital herpes. Urinary-tract infections. Grass allergies. Traveler’s diarrhea. You name it, the pharmaceutical industry is working on a vaccine to prevent it.
Many could be on the market within five years.
Contrast that with five years ago, when so many companies had abandoned the vaccine business that half the U.S. supply of flu shots was lost because of factory contamination at one of the two manufacturers left.
Vaccines are no longer a sleepy, low-profit niche in a booming drug industry. They’re starting to give ailing pharmaceutical companies a shot in the arm.
The lure of big profits, advances in technology and growing government support have drawn in more companies, from nascent biotechs to Johnson & Johnson. That means that recent remarkable strides in overcoming dreaded diseases and annoying afflictions probably will continue.
“Even if a small portion of everything that’s going on now is successful in the next 10 years, you put that together with the last 10 years, (and) it’s going to be characterized as a golden era,” said Emilio Emini, Pfizer Inc.’s head of vaccine research.
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