Current Edition

Pfizer eyes $26B in COVID-19 vaccine sales for the year, with $3.5B already in the bag

In the first three months of 2021, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine pulled in as much revenue as some pharma blockbusters make in an entire year. That’s just the beginning, as Pfizer eyes sales from more than a billion additional doses before the end of 2021.

The mRNA-based shot Comirnaty—first to market in the U.S.—reeled in $3.5 billion globally in the first quarter, Pfizer said (PDF) in its earnings report. For the full year, Pfizer projects a whopping $26 billion in Comirnaty sales, based on the 1.6 million doses the company has pledged worldwide. Meanwhile, Pfizer now has a full FDA approval in its sights. 

In the fourth quarter of 2020, during the first few weeks of the rollout, Comirnaty generated just $154 million, but Pfizer saw megablockbuster sales on the horizon. In early February, the company predicted its shot would reel in at least $15 billion this year. That figure could change “if additional contracts [were] signed,” Pfizer noted.

That same month, Pfizer agreed to supply 200 million more doses to the EU. In April, the bloc exercised its option to lock up another 100 million doses, bringing its total Pfizer-BioNTech order up to 600 million doses in 2021.

Pfizer also expanded its U.S. supply pact in February, selling an additional 100 million doses for $1.95 billion. The company aims to deliver a total of 300 million doses to the U.S. by the end of July. As of May 3, the company has shipped around 430 million Corminaty doses to 91 countries and territories around the globe, Pfizer said.

The company recently inked longer-term supply agreements with Canada and Israel, too. 

More Comirnaty sales could be in the works, as Pfizer says additional negotiations are underway. The CEO of BioNTech, Pfizer’s partner on the vaccine, recently said the team aims to make 3 billion doses this year. 

Pfizer and BioNTech’s shot scored an FDA emergency use authorization in early December, and now, the partners are eying a full approval. Pfizer plans to submit a Biologics License Application for Comirnaty by the end of May, according to the company’s first-quarter earnings presentation. The green light would pave the way for Pfizer to adjust its price, take control over how the shot is marketed and, critically, it would keep Comirnaty on the market once the “emergency” phase of the pandemic subsides.  

On the whole, first-quarter revenues clocked in $14.6 billion during the first quarter, climbing 45% over the $10.08 billion Pfizer made during the first three months of 2020. And despite the upsized influence of Comirnaty, there was more to Pfizer’s success than COVID-19.

Taking the shot out of the equation, revenues still rose 8%, Pfizer helmsman Albert Bourla, Ph.D., said in a release. The company’s blood thinner Eliquis leapt 25% to $1.64 billion, while heart meds Vyndaqel and Vyndamax skyrocketed 88% to $453 million. 

On the flip side, though, COVID-19 vaccines hurt Pfizer’s established vaccine business. Sales for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine Prevnar 13 were down 11% with sales of $1.28 billion, which Pfizer blamed on a 57% decline in adults and a 6% drop in children. Much of the hit was COVID-related; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people don’t receive other vaccines within two weeks of their COVID-19 shots.

With Comirnaty continuing its ascent, Pfizer raised its full-year guidance to a range of $70.5 billion to $72.5 billion, up from the $59.4 billion to $61.4 billion it predicted earlier.