Yes, this is the same Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) that had egg on its face back in late October after some vials of its Agrippal and Fluad influenza vaccines were found to have developed clumps in them. The clumping was very limited and turned out to be nothing; the vaccines were always safe to use.
Though Novartis might seem like a leading name in the vaccine world, using it as your flu vaccine play might not be highly effective. See, the company’s entire vaccine portfolio only makes up about 5% of Novartis’ annual revenue. And, only about a quarter of that 5% is driven by flu vaccines. That’s just a tad over $700 million for a company that does nearly $60 billion in sales per year. Even the recent approval of Flucelvax (which doesn’t use eggs to incubate the vaccine) isn’t apt to make a big dent this year.
Nevertheless, Novartis’ Fluvirin has gotten the CDC’s nod of approval. The vaccine should generate worldwide sales of $359 million in 2012.