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Pfizer raises 2021 COVID-19 vaccine sales forecast to $33.5 billion

MANAS MISHRA and MICHAEL ERMAN

PFIZER Inc has raised its full-year sales forecast for the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with Germany’s BioNTech by 29% to $33.5 billion, as nations stock up on doses for the rest of the year.

The company also said it could apply for an emergency use authorization for a potential booster dose as early as August, reiterating that a third shot will likely be needed to enhance protection amid a resurgence in infections in many countries.

New early data showed that a third dose generated virus-neutralizing antibodies more than 5 times higher in younger people and more than 11 times higher in older people than from two doses, Pfizer said.

Pfizer shares were up 2% at $42.98 in morning trading.

The drugmaker, whose shot was authorized in the United States, Europe and other regions around the world in December of 2020, has won new orders as rivals such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have faced manufacturing and safety hurdles.

Pfizer also competes with U.S. mRNA vaccine maker Moderna Inc, which has not been able to scale up production as quickly as its much larger rival.

“Worldwide demand for vaccines against the virus is expected to continue and the generally positive attitude towards Pfizer’s vaccine … puts the company in a strong position to benefit going forward,” said uk.Investing.com analyst Samuel Indyk.

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The updated sales forecast is based on signed deals for 2.1 billion doses. The forecast could be raised again if Pfizer signs additional contracts.

J&J last week estimated full-year COVID-19 vaccine sales of $2.5 billion, while Moderna has forecast $19.2 billion.

Pfizer said it has shipped 1 billion doses of the vaccine since December. The companies have a production target of around 3 billion doses this year.

The production ramp-up is subject to expansion at current facilities, adding new suppliers and contract manufacturers, the company said. Pfizer records most of the combined sales from the vaccine and splits expenses and profit 50-50 with its German partner.

Pfizer and BioNTech plan next month to test a version of the vaccine specifically designed to take on the fast-spreading Delta variant, with the first batch already manufactured, Pfizer said. The more easily transmissible variant now accounts for more than 80% of new U.S. COVID-19 cases and has also become dominant in many other countries.

Pfizer raised its estimates for overall full-year profit, with strong sales of blood thinner Eliquis, which it shares with Bristol Myers Squibb, and cancer drug Ibrance.

The vaccine is helping drive a large part of the company’s forecast, but Pfizer’s base business is also growing, said Mizuho analyst Vamil Divan.

Pfizer now expects a full-year adjusted profit of $3.95 to $4.05 per share, up from its prior forecast of $3.55 to $3.65.

By The African Mirror

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