WASHINGTON: Pfizer on Tuesday, May 4 raised its forecast for 2021 COVID-19 vaccine sales by more than 70% to US $ 26 billion and said demand from governments around the world struggling to stop the pandemic could contribute to its growth for years. come.
The company said it plans to file a full vaccine approval application in the United States in May for people over 16, as it is now only licensed for emergency use. He also expects to hear soon from US regulators on extending the emergency vaccine use authorization (EUA) for children aged 12 to 15.
Revenue from the vaccine – developed with German partner BioNTech – is expected to account for more than a third of Pfizer’s sales this year.
Forecasts are based on contracts to deliver 1.6 billion doses of vaccine this year. The company plans to sign more deals this year and is in supply talks with several countries for 2022 and beyond.
“Based on what we’ve seen, we believe that sustained demand for our COVID-19 vaccine – similar to that of influenza vaccines – is a likely outcome,” said Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla.
The two-dose vaccine was Pfizer’s best-selling product in the first trimester. The expenses and profits of the vaccine are split 50-50 between Pfizer and BioNTech.
Given persistent infections around the world and ongoing discussions with governments, Mizuho analyst Vamil Divan said the forecast for 2021 could rise further and spill over into future years.
READ: As COVID-19 rages around the world, US set to vaccinate low-risk teens
Daily adult immunization rates in the United States are more than 25% lower since peaking in mid-April. Authorization in children would increase the vaccine-eligible population by millions.
Pfizer said it expected to have safety and efficacy data for children aged 2 to 11 in September, as it planned to seek a further extension of the EUA for this group of age.
The company has also filed new data with U.S. regulators that would allow the vaccine to be stored at standard refrigerator temperature for up to four weeks, up from five days currently.
Pfizer and BioNTech aim to produce up to 2.5 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this year, 900 million of which are yet to be included in the New York-based drugmaker’s sales forecast.
If Pfizer sells that number of doses at similar prices, sales of the vaccine in 2021 could exceed the projected US $ 26 billion by more than 50%.
Moderna predicts sales of US $ 18.4 billion in 2021 of its similar COVID-19 vaccine.
Pfizer expects to cash in on the vaccine, while some drugmakers, including Johnson & Johnson, have said their vaccine will be sold on a non-profit basis until the pandemic is over.
Pfizer aims to manufacture at least 3 billion doses of the vaccine next year. It also expects to have data on the safety and immunogenicity of a third booster dose of the vaccine in July.
READ: Pfizer says it hasn’t told India any safety concerns with its COVID-19 vaccine
Pfizer and BioNTech have released data showing impressive durability of their vaccine for at least six months after vaccination. Still, Bourla said he believes regular boosters will be needed to maintain high levels of immunity, and governments around the world have started signing deals for the vaccines.
The COVID-19 vaccine generated $ 3.5 billion in revenue in the first quarter, beating analysts’ estimates of $ 3.28 billion, according to data from Refinitiv.
Total revenue for the quarter was US $ 14.6 billion, beating analysts’ forecast of US $ 13.5 billion.
It plans to increase R&D spending to fuel drug discovery using messenger RNA technology in the COVID-19 vaccine. The company is developing two influenza vaccines that are expected to enter clinical trials in the third quarter.
Pfizer shares edged down in the afternoon session.