Pharmaceutical companies have been leaving the vaccine market claiming unprofitability, and investment in vaccine companies has been slack, but there are bright spots on the horizon for certain types of vaccines and for new funding sources, said industry representatives attending the Vaccines meeting held October 22–24 in Arlington, Va., cosponsored by The Scientist.

“The only sizzle in the vaccine space is in the area of cancer vaccines, which is believed to be a $10 billion marketplace,” said Stan Yakatan, an industry consultant with Katan Associates, Hermosa Beach, Calif. “That's where I think the action is for the investment market.”

Since the “genomics bubble” in 2000, commitments to venture capital funds have decreased significantly, Yakatan said, although he expects the public markets to be more open in the near future. Part of the problem, said Yakatan, is pediatric vaccines, which are a low-margin commodity business accounting for 70% of...

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