Global vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine BNT162b2 is set to become the world's largest-ever selling vaccine in one year. Pfizer has projected sales of around $33.5 billion in 2021.
Pfizer today revised its projections in its second-quarter guidance, which is up from its Q1 projections of $26 billion sales and $15 billion estimated earlier.
Based on latest projections, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to manufacture up to 3 billion doses by December 2021-end. BNT162b2 contributed $7.8 billion in direct sales and alliance revenues to Pfizer in the second quarter. The vaccine, approved nine months ago, contributed $3.5 billion in the first quarter. Pfizer has so far supplied over a billion vaccine doses globally.
Closely following Pfizer is US-based biotech company Moderna's mRNA-1273 Covid-19 vaccine, which is projected to rake in sales worth $17 billion in 2021, as per its first-quarter projections.
The company is yet to update its second quarter orders. Earlier, Moderna had increased its 2021 supply forecast to 800 million-1 billion doses. It is also making investments to increase the global vaccine supply to around 3 billion doses in 2022.
Experts say with over 70 vaccines currently under advanced development, and many of them second-generation and booster vaccines, these companies may not be able to maintain such momentum in the coming years. As a result, they may not be able to break the records of the highest ever selling drug brands.
AbbVie's rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira was the largest selling drug ever in a year -- it recorded sales worth $19.8 billion in 2020 and a record $19.9 billion in 2019.
This drug recorded global sales worth $136.55 billion since its launch in 2003 and is expected to make about $240 billion by 2024. So far, the world's highest selling drug is Pfizer's cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Since its launch in early 1997, Lipitor earned sales of over $165 billion till 2018. At its peak, it posted record revenues of around $13 billion in 2006.
However, other main Covid-19 vaccine makers have not been able to repeat the success of Pfizer and Moderna.
Johnson & Johnson's 2021 sales forecast is only $2.5 billion for its single-shot COVID-19 dose, which was facing manufacturing and regulatory hurdles. The company expects to produce 500 million to 600 million doses of its one-shot vaccine this year.
Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca, which sells its vaccine in India through its licenced partner Serum Institute of India, could garner only $275 million in sales in the first quarter.
The sales data on the Russian government-owned Sputnik V vaccine and Chinese government-controlled vaccines are not available. The sales data on homegrown vaccine Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, is also yet to be made public.
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