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Pfizer and Moderna forecast to almost double vaccine sales in 2022

BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna will dominate the Covid-19 vaccine market next year, generating a massive $93.2bn in combined sales, almost double the amount in 2021, according to new forecasts.

The bullish projections by Airfinity, a health data analytics firm, suggest the two messenger RNA jab producers will control three-quarters of the non-Chinese Covid-19 vaccine market in 2022.

Rivals AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Russia’s Sputnik V and new entrants such as Novavax make up the remainder of the market, which is forecast to double in value to $124bn next year.

BioNTech/Pfizer is tipped to sell $54.5bn worth of Covid-19 vaccines and Moderna $38.7bn, according to Airfinity data released to the Financial Times, which is far higher than analysts’ consensus estimates of $23.6bn and $20bn respectively.

“The numbers are unprecedented,” said Rasmus Bech Hansen, Airfinity’s chief executive.

“We expect continued high sales levels in 2022 as countries seek continued protection and low and middle-income countries seek similar vaccination levels to what many high-income countries have achieved.”

Other analysts challenge the bullish sales forecasts for next year but most agree Pfizer, in particular, has dominated the Covid-19 vaccine race and will probably consolidate its position in coming months.

“They were the first to get approval for adults, they have moved first to get their booster dose approved and available, they moved first to get the adolescent indication, and they will get their paediatric approval first as well,” said Geoffrey Porges, analyst at SVB Leerink.

The investment bank forecasts BioNTech/Pfizer will generate $39.5bn in vaccine sales this year but experience a rapid fall in sales in 2022 to $9bn due to lower prices, less demand in rich nations and more competition.

Airfinity’s forecasts show BioNTech/Pfizer generating sales of $31.3bn and Moderna $17.6bn in 2021, which is slightly below company projections for $33.5bn and $20bn respectively. The health data analytics firm said changes in company pricing could lead to discrepancies in forecasting.

The list of potential competitors to mRNA jabs is dwindling. Last week the German biotechnology group CureVac became the latest company to abandon a vaccine while the Maryland-based biotech Novavax has still not had its jab authorised in the US or Europe.

“The mRNA vaccines have won the vaccine race because they look to be the most effective,” said David Dowdy, associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine in Baltimore.

“Given that these vaccines are still highly effective against serious illness, many months down the road, I think it’s going to be challenging for other vaccines to compete.”

Airfinity forecasts the Covid-19 vaccine market will be supported next year by governments in high and middle-income nations buying booster doses and stockpiling to protect against new variants. From 2022 onwards more than 10bn booster doses will be ordered, with just 198m going to low-income nations, it said.

Following criticism of Pfizer and Moderna over their poor record in supplying mRNA doses to middle and low-income nations this year, both companies will increase their supply of vaccines to the developing world.

Airfinity data shows Pfizer is expected to generate 64 per cent of its revenue from high-income companies while Moderna will generate just over three-quarters of sales from rich nations.

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