Pfizer to build capacity for ‘durable’ COVID-19 vaccine demand; CEO

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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American drugmaker Pfizer is gearing up its capacity for COVID-19 vaccines to at least 3 billion doses by next year, anticipating “durable demand” for the shots, according to its Chief Executive Officer Mr. Albert Bourla

Mr. Bourla stated that the company has shipped 430 million doses of the vaccine which is produced in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech to 91 countries.

“Based on what we have seen, we believe that a durable demand from our COVID-19 vaccine, similar to that of the flu vaccines, is a likely outcome. We want to be a long-term partner to health authorities around the world in their ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19, including their planning for an ongoing pandemic vaccination approach that is fit-for-purpose to local requirements,” Mr. Bourla added.

Pfizer said sales from the COVID-19 vaccines contributed $3.5 billion to its $14.6 billion quarterly revenue, which was up 45 percent year over year and beat analysts’ expectations. Profit for the first quarter increased by 45 percent to $4.88 billion.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use on children aged 12 to 15 years old.

The FDA previously granted the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine an emergency use authorization for people aged 16 and up.

BioNTech, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine partner, reported a $1.37 billion first-quarter profit, with sales jumping to $2.4 billion from $33.6 million in the same period last year.

According to BioNTech, the companies have signed orders for 1.8 billion doses to be delivered this year, as well as a range of contracts for distribution “for 2022 and beyond.”

Mr. Bourla told that Pfizer expects $26 billion in sales from its COVID-19 vaccine this year, with the company’s full-year revenue outlook raised to $70.5 billion to $72.5 billion.

The company recently signed agreements with the UK to supply 60 million additional doses this year, Israel to supply millions of doses next year, and Canada to supply 125 million doses next year and in 2023, with an option to supply 60 million more doses by 2024.

Pfizer’s stock rose 0.71 percent to $39.86 at the close of trading on the last day, giving it a market capitalization of $222.35 billion. Following last week’s results, US-based JP Morgan boosted its revenue forecast for the company, predicting that Pfizer will sell $31 billion in COVID-19 vaccines this year and $21 billion in 2022 while maintaining its current target price of $40.

President Mr. Joe Biden last week called for patents on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to be suspended, and Japanese Mizuho Securities, which has a $42 price goal on Pfizer’s shares, warned of “potential developments leading to structural changes in how drugs are priced in the US.”

Related: Game changer: Pfizer’s COVID-19 oral drug could be ready by 2021 end