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.
C & I Leasing Appoints Ugoji Lenin Ugoji as Group Managing Director/CEO
C & I Leasing Plc has appointed Mr. Ugoji Lenin Ugoji as the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer following the retirement of Mr. Andrew Otike-Odibi on 31 of December 2021.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Mbanugo Udenze & Co Company Secretary and seen by Investors King. Ugoji, the company’s chief operating officer, is now the Managing Director/CEO, effective 1 January 2022.
Ugoji Lenin Ugoji Profile
Ugoji holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Estate Management from the University of Lagos, and an MBA in Banking & Finance from the ESUT Business School, Enugu. He is also a Chartered Pension professional, and an associate of the Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria.
Ugoji joins C & I Leasing with over 20 years experience in Commercial/Investment Banking, Leasing and Asset Management.
His last assignment was with The Mellanby Trust Company, a Commodity focused Asset Management Company registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), where he was a founding Director and the Chief Investment Officer responsible for directing the company’s Investment Portfolio structure for purposes of its corporate and individual clients.
Ugoji’s extensive experience in the Leasing Industry commenced in 2005 as a Pioneer member of the Aquila Capital Group where he served as the pioneer Group Head Treasury & Wealth Management. He was responsible for creating the Group’s, Equipment Leasing focused Funding and Investment structure, which was targeted at attracting Capital from Private Equity, Foreign Development Financial Institutions and Local sources.
From 2010 to 2015, he served as the pioneer Managing Director for ‘Aquila Asset Management Ltd’, a Management Buy-Out firm from the Aquila Group. Prior to his time at the Aquila Group, Ugoji worked at Continental Trust Bank (now UBA) and NAL Bank Plc (now Sterling Bank) in the Treasury, International Operations and Domestic operations groups respectively.
Ugoji is happily married with children. He is passionate about ideas creation, investment and deal structuring, and enjoys volunteering for laudable causes. When not at work or volunteering, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, music and photography.
C&I Leasing Appoints Cordros Registrars as its Registrar
C&I Leasing Plc, a Nigerian leading maritime company, has appointed Cordros Registrars Limited as its registrar for share registration and data management service provider.
The company disclosed this in a statement filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited and obtained by Investors King.
Cordros Registrars Limited has now replaced Centurion Registrars Limited and takes over the Register of Members of C & I Leasing Plc effective 1st January, 2022.
The statement reads “C&I Leasing Plc hereby notifies Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), its shareholders and the investing public of the appointment of Cordros Registrars Limited as its REGISTRARS – SHARE REGISTRATION AND DATA MANAGEMENT SERVICE PROVIDER.
“Cordros Registrars Limited replaces Centurion Registrars Limited and takes over the Register of Members of C & I Leasing Plc effective 1st January, 2022.”
Speaking at a virtual press conference at the weekend, the Chief Executive Officer, C & I Leasing Plc, Ugoji Ugoji, revealed the company’s plans to explore opportunities in the digital space to improve its revenue despite the negative effects of the pandemic.
Explaining how the company planned to achieve this, he said by increasing and enhancing its collaboration and the creation of new business models to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the company will remain more profitable and competitive in the industry.
He also stated that the company would continue to look at the existing businesses to identify areas of improvement.
“We must be able to adapt and manage the resources of the company to improve on our processes to reduce the cost of transactions and grow our topline revenue,” he said.
Netflix Increases US, Canada Subscription Fees…Nigerian Subscribers To Suffer Same Fate
With the increase in inflation rates and the unstable foreign exchange, Netflix is likely to hike its subscription fee in Nigeria.
This is following the latest increase in its subscription fee in the United States and Canada, effective immediately for new subscribers.
Usually, when the inflation rate rises, prices of goods and services also increases, and consequently, banks raise their interest rates as well to cope and maintain their profit margin.
In the U.S., subscribers to Netflix’s basic plan, which allows for one stream on one screen at a time and does not have HD streaming, will now be charged $9.99 a month, up from $8.99.
The standard plans, which allow for users to stream on two screens at the same time now costs $15.49 per month, an increase from $13.99, while premium plans have also increased to $19.99 a month.
Investors King gathered that this is the third time Netflix will raise its prices in three years and the first since October 2020 for streamers residing in the U.S. and Canada.
Presently in Nigeria, Netflix’s subscription rate ranges from about 3,300 to about 5,800 per month.
Investors King recalls that Netflix, in 2020, officially launched its presence in Nigeria and since its launch, the streaming company has dominated Nigeria’s relatively new video-on-demand market with some hit movies and web series like King of Boys, Òlòtūré, Citation, Lionheart, Namaste Wahala, among others.
Today, Netflix has over 151 million paying subscribers in more than 190 countries.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government of Nigeria is making plans to force international social network services and digital platforms to register and open offices in Nigeria.
This means that media services, social media platforms and digital streaming platforms like Netflix and the others must register and pay tax in Nigeria and register with the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).
This move, according to the government, is to ensure that all these platforms register with the NBC, apply for a broadcasting license and pay tax.
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