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Pfizer and Moderna Reaping Billions From COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Market

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COVID-19 Vaccine - Investors King

Drugmakers Pfizer Inc, BioNTech and Moderna Inc are expected to reap billions of dollars from COVID-19 booster shots in a market that could rival the $6 billion 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.

Late on Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a booster dose of vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc for people with compromised immune systems.

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

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

Some early data suggests that the Moderna vaccine, which delivers a higher dose at the outset, maybe more durable than Pfizer’s shot, but more research is needed to determine whether that is influenced by the age or underlying health of the people vaccinated.

As a result, it is far from clear how many people will need boosters, and how often. The profit potential of booster shots may be limited by the number of competitors who enter the market. In addition, some scientists question whether there is enough evidence that boosters are needed, particularly for younger, healthy people. The World Health Organization 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 said in an interview last week. “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 is the number of products that serve that value. That will ultimately impact price.”

Pfizer declined to comment on the story. During the company’s second-quarter earnings call, executives said they believe a third dose will be necessary 6 to 8 months after vaccination, and regularly afterward.

A MODEL IN FLU SHOTS

If regular COVID-19 boosters are needed among the general population, the market would most resemble the flu shot business, which distributes more than 600 million doses per year. Four competitors split the U.S. flu market, which is the most lucrative and accounts for around half the global revenue, according to Dave Ross, an executive at CSL’s flu vaccine unit Seqirus.

Flu vaccination rates in developed countries have settled at around 50 percent of the population, and COVID boosters would likely follow a similar pattern if approved widely, said Atlantic Equities analyst Steve Chesney.

Flu shots cost around $18 to $25 a dose, according to U.S. government data and competition has kept price increases in check, with producers raising prices 4 or 5 percent in 2021.

Pfizer and Moderna may have greater pricing power for their boosters, at least at the outset, until competitors arrive. Pfizer initially charged $19.50 per dose for its vaccine in the United States and 19.50 euros for the European Union but has already raised those prices by 24 percent and 25 percent, respectively, in subsequent supply deals.

AstraZeneca Plc 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, who covers Pfizer.

Mizuho Securities analyst Vamil Divan expects at least 5 players in the COVID-19 booster market within a few years.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty around how boosters would be rolled out in the United States. Still, it is possible or even likely that people will be boosted with different vaccines than they were originally vaccinated with. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is already testing mixed boosting, and other countries that have used so-called mix and match vaccination have not had problems with that strategy.

One factor that could curb prices is if the U.S. government continues paying for most or all of the shots administered in the country, rather than leave it in the hands of private health insurers. In that scenario, the government would still be negotiating prices directly with vaccine makers and could use its buying power to stave off price increases.

Bijan Salehizadeh, managing director at healthcare investment firm Navimed Capital, said the U.S. government is likely going to want to keep paying in order to keep vaccination rates high and prevent new COVID surges, particularly if a Democratic administration is still in power.

“It’s going to be paid for until the virus disappears or mutates to be less virulent,” Salehizadeh said.

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Former First Bank Chairman, Ibukun Awosika Joins Binance Advisory Board

A former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika has been appointed to the Binance Advisory Board

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Ibukun Awosika

A former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika has been appointed to the Binance Advisory Board. 

Investors King learnt that one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange companies, Binance, has appointed Ibukun Awosika on its advisory board. Binance is believed to be the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. 

The former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria was selected among other eminent people which include Max Bacus Former U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Hyung-Rin Bang, advisor of the Korea Presidential Committee; Bruno Bézard, managing partner at Cathay Capital, former economic advisor to the French Prime Minister and ex-head of the French Treasury; Henrique de Campos Meirelles. 

The list also includes a former president of the Central Bank of Brazil; Leslie Maasdorp, the chief financial officer of the New Development Bank; Adalberto Palma, former senior advisor to the President of Mexico; Christin Schäfer, founder of ACS Plus; Ed Vaizey, a member of the UK House of Lords; David Wright, chair of Eurofi. 

The appointment of the advisory board will help the Binance exchange to break new boundaries in the face of crypto regulation challenges. 

It should be recalled that in June 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordered Binance to halt all UK-regulated activity over worries about weak consumer protection. Similarly, in May 2021, Bloomberg News reported that Binance is being investigated by the United States Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service for money laundering and tax evasion. 

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also banned cryptocurrency-related transactions in Nigeria. In a circular released in February 2021, the Central bank reaffirm a 2017 directive to financial institutions to block any account that transacts in cryptocurrency. 

However, despite the overwhelming opposition to cryptocurrency, millions of retail investors keep embracing it, especially in West Africa. 

In July 2022, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) rated the West African country third among countries with the highest number of cryptocurrency holders in Africa. The report also stated that more than 13 million Nigerians are in possession of digital assets

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Hundreds of MSMEs And Underserved Communities to Benefit From Microsoft And ICE Power Project

Microsoft and ICE Commercial Power have entered a partnership agreement to power hundreds of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and underserved communities. 

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Microsoft and ICE Commercial Power have entered a partnership agreement to power hundreds of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and underserved communities. 

ICE is a Nigeria-based affordable and renewable energy provider that deploys microgrids to help small and medium businesses which have limited or no access to power supply. 

In a pilot programme, ICE had earlier deployed 20 solar microgrids to connect about 170 underserved small businesses across three communities in Nigeria. The pilot program was undertaken in Edo, Delta and Ondo States.

In a statement released by the company, ICE Commercial Power noted that it understood the electricity challenges of small businesses and underserved communities in Nigeria, especially at a time when the cost of energy is exorbitantly high. 

Investors King earlier reported that because of the hike in the price of diesel, the cost of doing business in Nigeria has increased by more than 50 percent in 2022. This has adversely impacted the profitability of many businesses. 

According to ICE Commercial Power, “Many of Nigeria’s SMEs rely on using generators to provide power, but these machines can be unreliable, and the fuel and maintenance costs are high”.

“The African Development Bank noted that Nigerians spend about $14bn on generators and fuel yearly in order to avoid crippling downtime for their businesses.

“SMEs play a vital role in driving economic growth and job creation on the continent. Connecting SMEs to alternative energy sources helps to minimise downtime and maximise productivity.” the statement read. 

ICE Commercial Power further stated that the power project in partnership with Microsoft will connect businesses and underserved communities to reliable and affordable clean energy. 

The company also declares that users will be able to monitor their energy usage online to have significant control over their energy consumption.

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Jumia Partners With Coca-Cola to Improve Customers Experience

Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, has partnered with Coca-Cola Africa to offer Coca-Cola products to consumers in the comfort of their homes. 

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Coca-cola - Investors King

Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, has partnered with Coca-Cola Africa to offer Coca-Cola products to consumers in the comfort of their homes. 

The partnership will enable Jumia to reach out to millions of Coca-Cola customers through the Jumia platform.

Both wholesale and retail consumers can get the products at an affordable price and at the fastest delivery time. 

According to Romain Christodoulou, Jumia’s Chief Commercial Officer, “We are happy to partner with Coca-Cola to meet consumer demand for everyday products at the fastest delivery time and at affordable prices.

“Coming after the launch of our Quick Commerce stores, we are happy to let our consumers know that they can expect their delivery of beverages in under 20 minutes, offering convenience at its best,”

Similarly, Coca-Cola believes the partnership will bring its products closer to the consumer, especially those who prefer to shop online. 

The company’s Vice President for Customer and Commercial Leadership, Minas Vourodimos stated that Coca-Cola is pleased with its partnership with Jumia which will make Coca-Cola directly available to consumers in their homes. 

“Through this, we will be offering an alternative for easy and fast access to Coca-Cola brands across several beverage categories”. She added.

Investors King gathered that the Jumia and Coca-Cola partnership is one of the many strategic partnerships the African e-commerce giant has made in the last nine months. 

It could be recalled that early this month, Jumia partnered with Ziplan to start using drones for delivery services. This will help Jumia to reach rural and remote areas in Africa which could be hard or impossible to reach through conventional methods.

Subsequently, shopping on Jumia will be faster, more convenient, sustainable and accessible.

When the Jumia drone delivery service becomes operational, it will give Jumia the leverage to better serve its customers and subsequently increase the company’s revenue.

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