Covid vaccine generates €2.9bn sales for bullish Pfizer
Total first-quarter earnings rose to $14.6bn, a 45% increase on the same period in 2020
A dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is administered at a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Paris. Photograph: Bertrand Guay/AFP
Pfizer made $3.5 billion (€2.9 billion) from Covid-19 vaccine sales in the first quarter and boosted its full-year expectations for revenue from the jabs to $26 billion from $15 billion previously as it reported its quarterly earnings on Tuesday.
The US pharmaceutical company, which splits its Covid vaccine profits with its development partner BioNTech, raised its overall full-year revenue guidance to up to $72.5 billion from $61.4 billion, mainly due to contracts signed for the delivery of 1.6 billion vaccine doses in 2021.
Total first-quarter earnings rose to $14.6 billion, a 45 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2020 and beating analysts’ forecasts of $13.7 billion.
Reported diluted earnings per share hit 86 US cents, said chief executive Albert Bourla. Earnings from the vaccine came from sales in more than 50 countries.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way Pfizer has started 2021,” Mr Bourla said, in prepared remarks. “We continued to accelerate production and shipments of our Covid-19 vaccine – in many cases exceeding our contractual obligations for delivery timelines.”
As of May 3rd, 430 million doses of the Covid vaccine have been shipped to 91 countries. Pfizer plans to apply for full FDA approval of its coronavirus vaccine at the end of May, and US regulators are expected to authorise its use in adolescents aged 12-15 in the coming days.
Mr Bourla said he expected “durable demand” for the Covid-19 vaccine, similar to flu vaccines. Data from trials of a booster vaccine targeting the variant first detected in South Africa are expected in early July, he said.
Data was submitted to the FDA on Friday showing that the mRNA vaccine can be stored in a refrigerator for four weeks, making it easier for vaccination sites without freezers to keep the jab, Mr Bourla added.
The company is also working on a new formulation that could be stored in a refrigerator for up to 10 weeks. Data for the new formulation is expected in August.
AstraZeneca reported last week that its Covid-19 vaccine contributed $275 million (€227 million) in sales in the first quarter. The Anglo-Swedish group, which has committed not to sell the vaccine for profit during the pandemic, delivered 68 million doses worldwide in the first three months of the year, it said. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021