Thursday, March 31, 2022

Pfizer and BioNTech could make $13bn from coronavirus vaccine

The US drugmaker Pfizer and the German biotech firm BioNTech stand to bring in nearly $13bn (£9.8bn) in global sales from their coronavirus vaccine next year, which will be evenly split between the two companies, according to analysts at the US investment bank Morgan Stanley.

Pfizer’s half would be more than the US pharmaceutical group’s bestselling product, a pneumonia vaccine that generated $5.8bn last year.

Pfizer has agreed to supply 100m doses to the US at a price of $39 for a two-shot course, or $19.50 per dose, with the option to supply another 500m doses under new terms. The EU has ordered 200m doses while the UK has ordered 40m.

While other vaccine makers have pledged not to profit from their jabs during the pandemic, Pfizer has taken a different stance. Treating it as a commercial opportunity, the company turned down research funding from the US government under its vaccine programme Operation Warp Speed, and used almost $2bn of its own money instead to develop the Covid-19 vaccine with Germany’s BioNTech.

However, the Mainz-based BioNTech received €375m (£335m) from the German government and a €100m loan from the European Investment Bank. BioNTech is tiny compared to Pfizer, with revenues of €109m last year compared with Pfizer’s $52bn.

The global poverty charity Oxfam said the vaccine would be “zero per cent effective to the people who can’t access or afford it”, and urged the companies to share their vaccine with other developers.

The rival US drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, along with AstraZeneca, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, have both pledged to make their vaccines available on a not-for-profit basis during this pandemic. AstraZeneca, which is charging governments $3 to $5 a dose, also said last week that low-income countries would receive its vaccine on a cost basis “in perpetuity”.

The loss-making US biotech firm Moderna, which has received nearly $1bn in research funding from the US government, has priced its vaccine at $32 to $37 a shot.

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