Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it expects to generate $15 billion, or about a quarter of its total revenue this year, from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine co-developed with German partner BioNTech SE.
Sales from the vaccine – on track to be the drugmaker’s top product this year – could top $15 billion if the company signs more supply contracts, it said.
The vaccine, which uses synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) to prompt an immune response against the virus, was the first shot to be authorized for emergency use in the United States, marking the first regulatory nod for the new technology.
Pfizer said it expects there could be a long-lasting need for COVID-19 vaccines, to combat new virus variants that emerge and to “boost” peoples’ waning immune responses.
The company plans to launch a study to determine whether a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, administered 6-to-12 months after the initial shots, can extend and improve efficacy with more contagious variants circulating in communities around the world. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently administered as two doses three weeks apart.
Citi analyst Andrew Baum said he was optimistic that revenue contributions from the vaccine could be sustainable beyond 2021.
Beyond COVID-19, Pfizer said it expects mRNA technology could be used to develop vaccines against the flu and other viruses in the future.
Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said that mRNA vaccines and COVID-19 could prove transformative for Pfizer, which is already one of the world’s largest drugmakers.
A potential flu vaccine using the platform could hit the market by 2025, executives said on a conference call. That timeline was based more on more traditional vaccine development and not the experience of creating and producing coronavirus vaccines at breakneck speed during the pandemic.
Pfizer said it aims to make two billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. It expects to supply 200 million doses to the U.S. government by the end of May.
To achieve the goal, it will have to deliver an average of around 10 million doses per week, more than double the rate Pfizer and BioNTech delivered to the United States through the end of January, according to Reuters calculations.
Pfizer forecast 2021 sales between $59.4 billion and $61.4 billion. The company raised both ends of its full-year adjusted profit forecast by 10 cents and now expects to earn $3.10 to $3.20 per share.