Wondering if the COVID nightmare will ever end?
“Our COVID-19 franchises will remain multibillion-dollar revenue generators for the forseeable future,” Pfizer chairman and chief executive officer Albert Bourla told analysts during Pfizer’s third quarter earnings call Tuesday morning.
Those “franchises” include the vaccine Comirnaty and the antiviral Paxlovid, both of which “are going to be quite relevant for many years to come,” said David Denton, Pfizer’s chief financial officer.
COVID-19, he added, will be “somewhat like a sustained flu, but actually more deadly than the flu.”
Pfizer, in fact, will soon begin clinical studies of a combined COVID/flu vaccine, which will provide “improved convenience in single patient visits,” said Mikael Dolsten, president of worldwide research and development,
The pharma giant’s vaccines against respiratory diseases won’t stop with COVID and the flu. Citing RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) as the third most common cause of acute respiratory illness in older adults, as well as a large problem for infants, Pfizer said it hopes to have both an adult vaccine and a maternal vaccine in the market by early 2024.
RSV will be another “multibillion-dollar revenue opportunity,” Bourla said, adding that Pfizer “could significantly bring all three of them together: RSV, COVID and flu.”
Indeed, vaccines are the “sweet spot of what Pfizer does,” said Angela Hwang, chief commercial officer and president of Pfizer’s global biopharmaceuticals business.
COVID-19 product sales for all of 2022 are expected to be around $56 billion, Pfizer said: $34 billion from Comirnaty vaccines and $22 billion from Paxlovid.
In the third quarter, COVID vaccine sales rose 83% year-over-year, attributed to the new Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent booster, and government authorization of a primary vaccine for children 6 months to less than 5 years of age.
Paxlovid sales for the quarter were $7.5 billion.
William Pao, Pfizer’s chief development officer, defended Paxlovid against recent news reports that it’s been causing rebound COVID cases, most notably in the case of Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He cited “several studies recently that have shown that rebound occurs with COVID in general…It’s a phenomenon associated with COVID and not with Plaxlovid.”