By Manas Mishra and Michael Erman
(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc on Tuesday said it expected 2021 sales of the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with German partner BioNTech to reach $36 billion and forecast another $29 billion from the shot in 2022, topping analyst estimates for both years.
The U.S. drugmaker said it is seeking to sign more vaccine deals with countries, which could drive sales even higher next year. It has the capacity to produce 4 billion doses in 2022 and has based its projections on sales of 1.7 billion doses.
The vaccine brought in sales of $13 billion in the third quarter. The company splits gross profit from sales of the shot in most of the world with BioNTech.
Pfizer's shares were up more than 4% at $45.44.
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine was the first to receive U.S. authorization last year, and U.S. regulators are likely to give the green light to begin administering it to children ages 5 to 11 as soon as Wednesday.
Pfizer's updated vaccine sales forecast suggests the shot will account for as much as 44% of its total revenue for the year.
Wall Street on average expected COVID-19 vaccine sales of $35.44 billion this year and $22.15 billion for 2022, according to Refinitiv data.
Analysts have said that Pfizer and other COVID-19 vaccine makers stand to reap billions of dollars from annual vaccine boosters over the next few years.
Company executives said Pfizer plans to monitor participants in its clinical study for a fourth dose, to document the impact of possible annual, repeat vaccinations.
"We already now are preparing for revaccination when the third boost immunity may start to fade, possibly after year, which we think would be the type of data to generate to support more of an annual vaccination similar to flu," said Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten.
The United States, Israel and a handful of other countries have started rolling out booster doses to some people. Officials in those countries say the protection from the original round of shots declines over time.
A majority of booster doses are expected to be sold to high income countries, which pay more for the shots as part of Pfizer's plan to link the price of its vaccine to a country’s ability to pay.
Pfizer said it expects to deliver at least one billion doses of its vaccine to low- and middle- income countries next year.
Sales of the vaccine, called Comirnaty, have vastly outpaced those from rivals Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson. J&J has been dealing with production snags and safety concerns and Moderna was told by the FDA that review of its shot for adolescents – a group already eligible for the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine – has been delayed.
Pfizer is on track to deliver 2.3 billion doses of the vaccine, out of the roughly 3 billion it plans to produce this year.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Michael Emran in New Jersey; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Bill Berkrot)
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