European regulators expand Pfizer vaccine Prevenar approval

NEW YORK - European regulators have become the first to approve Pfizer Inc.'s Prevenar 13 vaccine for patients at all stages of life by including adults between the ages of 18 and 49.

The New York drugmaker said Wednesday that the vaccine, known as Prevnar 13 in the United States, had already been approved in the Europe Union for infants and children up to age 17 as well as adults ages 50 years old and older.

The vaccine protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria, which can cause meningitis, pneumonia and ear infections. It is the biggest-selling vaccine in history and brings in nearly $4 billion in annual revenue.

In the United States, Prevnar 13 is approved for use in infants and children up to age 17 and adults 50 and older.

Pfizer shares rose 8 cents to $28.43 in premarket trading about an hour before the market opens.