Another pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), recently acquired Crucell, a Dutch vaccine producer, for $2.42 billion. The acquisition is a strategic move that positions J&J in the vaccine market. J&J also announced that it plans to expand its research to encompass infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.
Vaccines are more difficult to make and require larger upfront investment than prescription drugs. So, as patents for brand-name drugs expire and margins fall, big pharma companies are looking to produce vaccines to bolster a business that is less likely to be undercut by low-cost producers.