Pfizer Inc. said it expects about $15 billion in revenue this year from the Covid-19 vaccine it developed with BioNTech SE, a sign of returns to come from the industry’s pandemic response efforts.
The vaccine projection primarily includes doses that are expected to be delivered this year under existing contracts, Pfizer said Tuesday as it reported fourth-quarter earnings. The forecast may be adjusted in the future as additional contracts are reached.
Pfizer is commanding a higher price for its vaccine than some rivals. Under the terms of its supply deal with the U.S., it is charging $19.50 for each shot of the two-dose regimen. Rival AstraZeneca Plc, which hasn’t yet gained authorization for its vaccine in the U.S., has said it plans to charge less than $4 per dose.
Excluding its vaccine sales, the drugmaker said it expects 2021 full-year revenue of $44.4 billion to $46.4 billion. Annual earnings per share will be $3.10 to $3.20. Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said earlier this month that earnings would top out at $3.10 a share. The guidance was raised primarily because of its shifting vaccine forecast, according to the company.
Shares of the New York-based company were little changed in premarket trading Tuesday. Through the close Monday, the stock lost 2.7% so far this year.
Pfizer’s newly authorized Covid-19 vaccine brought in $154 million in sales in the fourth quarter. The two-dose regimen based on a new technology known as messenger RNA was cleared for emergency use in the U.S., U.K. and European Union in December.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech initially expected to produce 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine, known BNT162b2, this year. They later boosted their output goal by more than 50% to 2 billion doses after a label change allowed doctors to extract six doses instead of five from each vial, and they secured additional manufacturing capacity. The boon to supply will certainly add to the companies’ sales.
Pfizer and BioNTech have reached agreements totaling 836 million doses, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker, including 300 million for the EU and 200 million for the U.S. Pfizer remains in discussions with governments around the world about new deals and exercising additional options, Bourla said last week in an interview.
The drug giant’s overall fourth-quarter figures were anticipated to be messy as it explains how earnings stack up year-over-year following the fourth-quarter spinoff of its off-patent drug unit, Upjohn, into a combined company with Mylan NV now known as Viatris Inc.
The new, slimmed-down Pfizer brought in $11.7 billion. Its major blockbusters, including the cancer drug Ibrance, the anticoagulant Eliquis, and the Prevnar vaccine franchise drove much of the company’s growth.
Pfizer spent more than $9 billion on research and development, including on its pandemic response efforts, in 2020. Bourla cited the company’s “decade-long conversion into a pure-play, science and innovation-focused company,” for the company’s progress.
“Our record-breaking success at developing a vaccine against Covid-19, along with our partner BioNTech, is just one example of what we believe this new Pfizer is capable of achieving,” he said in the statement.