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Pfizer, Moderna's Covid-19 vaccines set to break the world record for highest sales in 2021

Business Today logo Business Today 28-07-2021 PB Jayakumar
a close up of a bottle: Pfizer, Moderna's Covid-19 vaccines set to break the world record for highest sales in 2021 © Provided by Business Today Pfizer, Moderna's Covid-19 vaccines set to break the world record for highest sales in 2021

Global vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech combine's Covid-19 vaccine BNT162b2 is set to become the world's largest-ever selling drug or vaccine a year, as Pfizer has projected sales of around $33.5 billion in 2021.

Pfizer today revised its projections in second-quarter guidance for the year -- from its Q1 projections of $26 billion worth sales and $15 billion estimated earlier.

Based on current projections, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to manufacture in 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 doses of the vaccine 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.

Also read: COVID-19: India expecting 30-40 lakh Pfizer, Moderna vaccine doses through COVAX by Aug

The company is yet to update its orders in the second quarter. 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 of $136.55 billion since its launch in 2003 and is expected to make about $240 billion by 2024. So far, the world's largest-ever blockbuster 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.

Also read: COVID-19 vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna have not submitted applications for EUA, says DCGI

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.

Also read: India may not get Moderna COVID-19 vaccine till 2022

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