In February, Pfizer was predicting $15bn in COVID-19 vaccine sales for this year. Fast-forward just three months and the pharmaceutical giant has now revised that figure up 70% to $26bn.
That would mean the vaccine would account for nearly 30% of overall revenues in 2021. And the $26bn figure is based on 1.6 billion doses ordered as of mid-April: and could yet rise with more orders.
What next for the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine, BNT162b2, was first authorized in December 2020; and since then the companies have shipped around 430 million doses of the vaccine to 91 countries and territories around the world. In Q1 2021, the vaccine made $3.5bn in sales.
Pfizer and its mRNA partner BioNTech are now also lining up deals past 2021. In April 2021, an agreement was signed with Israel to supply millions of doses in 2022 (exact number unspecified).
Fellow mRNA COVID-19 vaccine company Moderna is also lining up plans beyond 2021: with increased capacity and supply deals.
An agreement with Canada stretches the furthest: set to supply up to 125 million doses in 2022 and 2023, with options to purchase up to 60 million additional doses in 2024.
And in terms of size, a draft order for 1.6 billion doses with the EU for 2021-2023 represents the largest of orders lined up to date.
Pfizer and BioNTech are also lining up new authorizations to take the vaccine into new population groups. In the US and EU, they have submitted clinical trial data from adolescents aged 12-15 years old to regulators in the hope of amending its authorizations (currently for people aged 16+) to this demographic. In the US, a decision on younger age groups is reportedly imminent and could come early next week.
Furthermore, the companies began a global Phase 1/2/3 continuous study last month in children 6 months to 11 years old. Results from the study are expected to be available in the second half of 2021.
Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech have started a study evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of a third booster shot of the vaccine: seeking to understand its effectiveness on both long term protection and against emerging virus variants (a 30 μg booster of the vaccine administered 6 to 12 months after the initial two-dose regimen).
The vaccine is also being studied in a global Phase 2/3 study of pregnant women (the UK authorized the vaccine for this population last month).
Excluding COVID-19: Pfizer's Q1 revenues up 8%
Over Q1, the COVID-19 vaccine contributed $3.5bn in global revenues; out of Pfizer's total revenues of $14.6bn (vaccines now account for the largest business segment: albeit with COVID-19 making up the majority of the $4.89bn division).
Pfizer’s Q1 revenues reflected 42% operational growth; and even when excluding the COVID-19 vaccine, revenues still grew 8%.
Looking forward, the company has increased its 2021 financial guidance, expecting around 6% operational growth compared to 2020, excluding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Highlights from Q1 across the business included biosimilars, which grew 79% operationally to $530m, primarily driven by recent oncology monoclonal antibody biosimilar launches of Ruxience (rituximab), Zirabev (bevacizumab) and Trazimera (trastuzumab) globally, as well as continued growth from Retacrit (epoetin) in the US.
The company also saw 25% growth of anticoagulant Eliquis (apixaban), led by growth in the US, emerging markets and developed Europe, with increased adoption in non-valvular atrial fibrillation and oral anti-coagulant market share gains.
Vyndaqel/Vyndamax was up 88% operationally, primarily driven by the approval in February 2020 of the transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM) indication in the EU, as well as the continued strong uptake of the ATTR-CM indication in the US and Japan.