American drugs giant Pfizer is predicting sales of nearly £19billion from its coronavirus vaccine this year as the world recovers from the pandemic.
The company’s latest forecast is up from a previous estimate of £11billion.
Pfizer is set to deliver 1.6bn doses of its life-saving Covid jab in 2021, as nations reduce deaths and return to normal life.
Its two-shot vaccine BNT162b2 was the first to be approved in the UK and US last year. It was developed in partnership Biontech, which was founded by husband-and-wife team Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci.
Life saver: Pfizer is set to deliver 1.6bn doses of its life-saving Covid jab in 2021, as nations reduce deaths and return to normal life
The first patients received the jab from the NHS in early December. And it has since become a key component of the vaccine rollouts in most western nations.
But unlike British rival Astrazeneca, which is selling its jabs globally at no profit, Pfizer’s extra sales from the pandemic have proved highly lucrative.
The firm reported revenues of £10.5billion for the first three months of this year, up from £7.3billion in 2020.
And of that figure, £2.5billion came from sales of the vaccine. That helped Pfizer’s profit for the quarter rise from £2.4billion to £3.5billion.
Dr Albert Bourla, the firm’s boss, said: ‘I am extremely proud of the way we have begun 2021.
‘We have achieved important clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones across our pipeline and portfolio while continuing to increase our capacity to supply doses of BNT162b2.
‘Each of these accomplishments further demonstrates our commitment to Pfizer’s purpose: breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.’
So far some 430m Pfizer doses have been shipped to 91 countries. It received emergency authorisation last winter, and plans to secure full approval from American regulators later this year.
Pfizer’s two-shot Covid vaccine was developed in partnership Biontech, which was founded by husband-and-wife team Ugur Sahin (left) and Ozlem Tureci (right)
Clinical trials have established the jab is safe and 91 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19, and 100 per cent effective at preventing serious disease or death.
The vaccine is not yet approved for use in children aged below 16 but Pfizer is expected to seek this for those aged 12 to 15 in the coming days.
The company expects its jab to remain in demand even after the worst of the pandemic has passed.
‘Based on what we’ve seen, we believe that a durable demand for our Covid-19 vaccine – similar to that of the flu vaccines – is a likely outcome,’ Bourla said. By next year, Pfizer expects to have capacity to produce another 3bn doses annually.
The jab is among the new breed of mRNA vaccines, which have been developed in record time during the pandemic.
Traditional vaccines use a weakened form of a virus, which is introduced into the body to train the immune system to fight it.
However, mRNA vaccines are made using the genetic code of a virus.
Once injected, they work by giving the body the genetic instructions to produce antibodies needed for an immune response.
Whereas traditional vaccines can take up to a decade to produce, Pfizer says new potential mRNA jabs can be generated in as little as a week – once a virus’s genetic code has been sequenced.