Demand for BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, which it developed with Pfizer, more than tripled first-quarter revenues and earnings, but the German biotech business is still anticipating a full-year fall in vaccine sales.
Revenues more than tripled from a year ago to 6.37 billion euros ($6.73 billion), while net income increased to 3.70 billion euros, according to the business.
“As a result of an increased order volume initially placed in late 2021 following the then-emerging Omicron variant, we began the year 2022 with strong revenues and earnings, leaving us well-positioned to achieve the 2022 financial guidance,” finance chief Jens Holstein said.
BioNTech maintained its sales projection for 2022 vaccines of 13 to 17 billion euros, down from 19 billion last year, predicting a drop for the rest of the year.
BioNTech’s prediction was based solely on firm 2022 orders, which remained steady at around 2.4 billion doses from a March estimate.
Last Monday, Pfizer solely evaluated the current order backlog when forecasting $32 billion in COVID vaccine sales in 2022, down from $36.8 billion last year.
Last week, rival Moderna was more upbeat, predicting greater vaccine sales in the second half of the year than the first, citing increased demand for booster shots in the fall.
In North America and Europe, demand for established COVID vaccines has dwindled as individuals wanting to get the shot have mostly completed their three-shot course, and additional shots are only suggested for a limited group of the most vulnerable elderly.
Low and middle-income countries will drive future orders, as will the still-uncertain potential of an Omicron-adapted shot for a booster campaign before the northern-hemisphere winter.
Despite a collaborative deal with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical and while authorities battle the country’s worst COVID outbreaks since the epidemic began, China has not approved BioNTech’s vaccine.
BioNTech said on Monday that trial data on its efforts to develop an Omicron-adapted injection should be available in the coming weeks.
Last Monday, the European Union’s pharmaceuticals agency said it aimed to approve customised vaccines by September, and trials should reveal further information in the coming months.
Vaccine developers are comparing the benefits of vaccines that target only one variant per shot against vaccines that target two variants per dose.
(Adapted from BusinessTimes.com.sg)