Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna may tap €5bn from annual booster shots

Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna may tap €5bn from annual booster shots

Vaccine makers Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna are expected to reap billions of euros from Covid-19 booster shots.

Drugmakers Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna are expected to reap billions of euros from Covid-19 booster shots in a market that could rival the $6bn (€5bn) in annual sales for flu vaccines for years to come, analysts and healthcare investors say.

For several months, the companies have said they expect that fully inoculated people will need an extra dose of their vaccines to maintain protection over time and to fend off new coronavirus variants.

Now a growing list of governments, including Chile, Germany and Israel, have decided to offer booster doses to older citizens or people with weak immune systems in the face of the fast-spreading Delta variant. The UK and US, among many others, are expected to follow suit.

Pfizer, along with its German partner BioNTech, and Moderna have together locked up over $60bn in sales of the shots just in 2021 and 2022. The agreements include supply of the initial two doses of their vaccines as well as billions of euros in potential boosters for wealthy nations.

Going forward, analysts have forecast revenue of over $6.6bn for the Pfizer-BioNTech shot and $7.6bn for Moderna in 2023, mostly from booster sales. They eventually see the annual market settling at around $5bn or higher, with additional drug makers competing for those sales.

The vaccine makers say that evidence of waning antibody levels in vaccinated people after six months, as well as an increasing rate of breakthrough infections in countries hit by the Delta variant, support the need for booster shots.


It is far from clear how many people will need boosters, and how often. The World Health Organisation has asked governments to hold off on booster shots until more people worldwide receive their initial doses.

"We don't know what the market forces will be," Moderna president Stephen Hoge. 

"At some point, this will become a more traditional market — we'll look at what are the populations at risk, what value are we creating, and what are the number of products that serve that value. That will ultimately impact price."

During Pfizer's second-quarter earnings call, executives said they believe a third dose will be necessary six to eight months after vaccination, and regularly afterwards.

If regular Covid-19 boosters are needed among the general population, the market would most resemble the flu shot business. 

Pfizer and Moderna may have greater pricing power for their boosters, at least at the outset, until competitors arrive. Pfizer initially charged €19.50  for the EU, but has already raised those prices by 25% in subsequent supply deals.

AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are both gathering additional data on boosters of their vaccines. Novavax, Curevac, and Sanofi could also potentially be used as boosters, though their vaccines have yet to receive any regulatory authorization.

"A lot of these firms aren't even in the market yet. I think within a year's time, all these companies will have booster strategies," said Morningstar analyst Damien Conover.

  • Reuters

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