Home News Setback for Vir Biotechnology: Influenza Prophylaxis Trial Failure

Setback for Vir Biotechnology: Influenza Prophylaxis Trial Failure


Shares of Vir Biotechnology (VIR) took a significant hit on Thursday morning as a trial for their influenza prophylaxis failed, causing the stock to plummet by 43% to around $13.

An Impressive Rise and Recent Challenges

Obsolescence Amidst Viral Evolution

However, the evolving nature of the virus has rendered sotrovimab obsolete. Similar to other biopharma firms that experienced exponential revenue growth during the pandemic, Vir now finds itself in search of the next big opportunity. With shares already down by 8.9% this year and 24% over the past 12 months, analysts predict that revenue will decline to $188.8 million by 2023, as reported by FactSet.

VIR-2482: The Anticipated Breakthrough

Vir had pinned its hopes on VIR-2482, a monoclonal antibody designed to prevent influenza. This novel solution aimed to provide superior protection compared to conventional flu vaccines, which have long been known for their limited effectiveness. Specifically targeted against influenza A viruses, known for their severity, the antibody excluded influenza B viruses. The company set an ambitious goal of achieving an overall efficacy rate of 70%.

While facing setbacks due to their failed influenza prophylaxis trial, Vir Biotechnology must now regroup and seek new strategies for future success.

Major Setback for Drug Development


On Thursday, the pharmaceutical company released disappointing news regarding the outcome of a significant drug test. The trial, involving approximately 3,000 adults, aimed to assess the effectiveness of VIR-2482 in reducing influenza A illness. Unfortunately, the results did not meet expectations.

Influenza A Reduction

Patients who received a high dose of VIR-2482 experienced a mere 16% reduction in influenza A illness, which the company deemed statistically insignificant. Similarly, those who received a low dose saw a marginal reduction of 3.8%. These figures were far from ideal.

Alternative Viewpoint

Interestingly, a different measurement approach revealed a more promising outcome for the high-dose group. Using a less-stringent definition of flu, the reduction in influenza A illness reached an impressive 57%. However, Vir did not provide an explanation for this discrepancy or confirm whether the 57% reduction was statistically significant.

Further Analysis Required

“Although these topline data are disappointing, further analysis is necessary to better understand these outcomes, which we plan to present at a major medical congress,” stated Dr. Phil Pang, Vir’s chief medical officer and interim head of research.

Expanding Treatment Options

In addition to VIR-2482, Vir is actively working on developing treatments for hepatitis D. This endeavor demonstrates the company’s commitment to tackling other pressing medical challenges. Furthermore, they are also working on a different monoclonal antibody, VIR-291, which aims to target both influenza A and influenza B viruses.

In conclusion, while facing this major setback, Vir remains dedicated to exploring potential solutions and advancements in the field of drug development. They strive to leverage further analysis and forthcoming medical congress presentations to gain a deeper understanding of these outcomes.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

  +  6  =  11