COVID-19 vaccine boosters could mean billions for drugmakers

Washington, Sept. 25 (BUS): Billions more in profits are at stake for some vaccine makers as the United States moves toward distributing COVID-19 booster shots to bolster Americans’ protection against the virus, according to the Associated Press.

How much manufacturers can earn depends on how big the offering is.

Deciding who should get a booster dose has been a contentious decision, with CDC advisers spending two days this week examining the evidence.

The Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walinsky, endorsed most of their options: people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have chronic health problems such as diabetes should present One as soon as six months have passed since the last dose of Pfizer.

Those 18 or older with health problems can decide for themselves if they want a booster dose.

However, the crisis is constantly evolving, and some top US health officials expect boosters to be allowed more widely in the coming weeks or months.

And that, combined with continued growth in initial vaccines, could mean massive gains in sales and profits for Pfizer and Moderna in particular.

Wall Street notes. Analysts’ median forecast for Moderna’s revenue for 2022 has jumped 35% since President Joe Biden laid out his backing plan in mid-August.

Most vaccinations so far in the United States have come from Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with Germany’s BioNTech, and Moderna. They have vaccinated about 99 million and 68 million people, respectively. Johnson & Johnson is in third place with about 14 million people.

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No one knows yet how many people will get the extra shots. But Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen expects the boosters alone to bring in about $26 billion in global sales next year for Pfizer and BioNTech and about $14 billion for Moderna if they are adopted for nearly all Americans.

These companies may also gain business from people who initially got other vaccines. In Britain, which plans to offer boosters to everyone over 50 and other vulnerable people, an expert panel recommended that the Pfizer shot be the primary option, with Moderna being used as an alternative.

Andersen expects Moderna, which has no other products on the market, to generate nearly $13 billion in profit next year from all sales of COVID-19 vaccines if boosters are authorized for widespread use.

Pfizer’s potential vaccine earnings are difficult to estimate, but company executives said they expect the pre-tax adjusted profit margin from the vaccine to be in the “high twenties” as a percentage of revenue. That would translate to about $7 billion in profit next year just from boosters, based on Andersen’s sales forecast.

European J&J and AstraZeneca said they do not intend to benefit from COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic.

For Pfizer and Moderna, boosters could be more profitable than original doses because they wouldn’t come with the research and development costs the companies incurred to get the vaccines to market in the first place.

Drug makers are also developing COVID-19 shots that target specific types of the virus, and they say people may need annual shots like those they receive for the flu. All of this can make vaccinations a major recurring source of income.

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The COVID-19 vaccines have performed much better than their predecessors.

Pfizer said in July that it expected revenue for a COVID-19 vaccine to reach $33.5 billion this year, an estimate that could change depending on the effect of boosters or the potential expansion of shots for elementary school children.

That would be more than five times the $5.8 billion he raised last year from the world’s most profitable vaccine — Pfizer’s Prevnar 13, which protects against pneumococcal disease.

It would also dwarf the $19.8 billion brought in last year by AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis treatment Humira, which is widely seen as the world’s best-selling drug.

Eric Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan, noted that this bodes well for future vaccine development.

Gordon said vaccines usually aren’t nearly as profitable as treatments. But the success of COVID-19 shots could attract more drug makers and venture capitalists into the field.

“The vaccine business is more attractive, and it’s good for those of us who need vaccines,” Gordon said.

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