US drugmaker Pfizer expects to make $26bn (£19bn) in revenues from sales of its Covid-19 vaccine this year, with its soaraway product accounting for more than a third of the company’s annual income.
The vaccine, which was developed with Germany’s BioNTech, contributed $3.5bn in global revenues at Pfizer in the first three months of the year, and the company had expected it to bring in $15bn over the course of 2021.
Now the jab, priced at $39 for two doses in the US and about $30 in the EU, will generate 73% more than forecast. The company said takings from the jab would boost profits.
The new prediction is based on contracts signed until mid-April, for the delivery of 1.6bn doses globally this year. Pfizer is already supplying the US, the UK, the EU, Japan and Israel, among other markets, and is reportedly close to signing a contract with Brazil for 100m doses. It has also struck deals with Canada and Israel to supply the jab beyond this year.
The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine was the first to be approved by health regulators, and is based on re-engineered messenger RNA – the molecule that sends genetic instructions from DNA to a cell’s protein-making machinery. This means it has to be stored at ultra-low temperatures (-70C or -94F). In March, Pfizer and BioNTech started testing the vaccine in children from six months to 11 years old.
The New York-based company expects to make revenues of between $70.5bn and £72.5bn this year, with the coronavirus jab accounting for $26bn of that sum. Adjusted earnings per share are forecast at $3.55 to $3.65. Previously, it forecast total annual revenues of up to $61.4bn and adjusted earnings per share of $3.10 to $3.20.
Even without the vaccine boost, Pfizer flagged a stronger outlook for revenues, saying its business had performed well overall. It reported total revenues of $14.5bn for the first quarter.
The boost to revenues from the Covid vaccine, called BNT162b2, was partly offset by higher spending on research and development. That rose by 20% in the quarter year-on-year, mainly because of the cost of developing the vaccine and treatments for Covid-19. Pfizer splits costs and profit margins for the vaccine equally with BioNTech.