Successful results from a Phase III study have raised hopes that Novartis’s meningococcal B vaccine candidate could be first to provide broad coverage against the deadly disease.

The trial, which involved more than 3,600 infants, met its primary end points showing a robust response for the majority of children vaccinated with 4CMenB.

4CMenB showed an acceptable tolerability profile when co-administered with other routine infant vaccines, which supports the vaccine’s use in the first year of life, when the medical need is greatest.

Meningococcal B, or MenB, is an aggressive illness that can lead to death within 24-48 hours of the first symptoms.

Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics division head Andrin Oswald said that the challenge with MenB was that there were thousands of circulating strains and developing a broadly protective vaccine has, until now, been difficult.

“This critical data highlights the promise of the 4CMenB vaccine addressing the unmet public health need of MenB, the most common cause of bacterial meningitis for which there is no readily available global vaccine,” he said.