A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the first authorized drugs and vaccines indicated for the virus have generated more than a combined $4.23 billion for their developers, according to sales figures released in recent weeks by developers of the therapeutics.
Those developers have set the stage for a potentially much more lucrative 2021, based on forecasts released by Wall Street watchers of the biopharma industry.
AllianceBernstein’s Sanford C. Bernstein unit is predicting the top five therapeutics will yield a combined $38.5 billion in sales. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of that total, $25.2 billion, is expected to be generated by two vaccines: BNT162b2, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech ($14.3 billion), and Moderna’s namesake Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine ($10.9 billion).
And in a report focused on antiviral drugs, Morningstar forecast more than $10 billion in sales potential for authorized treatments led by Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab and Regeneron’s two-antibody combination or “cocktail” REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab).
Below are seven COVID-19 vaccines and drugs for which sales figures have been disclosed by their developers during 2020. Each drug or vaccine is listed by its name(s), sponsor(s), 2020 sales as disclosed by sponsor(s), and 2021 forecasts as projected by investment firms and/or sponsor(s) in guidance to investors.
Not included on the list are just as many COVID-19 vaccines and drugs that are well into clinical development but have yet to win authorizations from regulators. When those candidates begin to reach patients in settings beyond clinical trials, they are expected to generate several billion dollars in additional revenue. According to a report by Morningstar, these candidates waiting in the proverbial wings include:
- Johnson & Johnson’s adenovirus vector-based Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate ($2.4 billion)
- Novavax’s nanoparticle vaccine NVX-CoV2373 ($2 billion).
- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Vir Biotechnology’s antiviral antibody VIR-7831 (close to $1 billion).
- CureVac’s mRNA-based vaccine CVnCoV, for which Bayer is supporting development with manufacturing and other services ($900 million).
- Merck & Co.’s oral antiviral agent molnupiravir, also called MK-4482 ($250 million).
- Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)’s recombinant protein-based vaccine incorporating a Sanofi antigen and GSK adjuvant ($200 million).
COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (C19VAZ)
|Sponsors: AstraZeneca, University of Oxford, and its spinout company Vaccitech
2020 Sales: $2 million 1
2021 Forecasts: $2.9 billion (Morningstar); $6.4 billion (Bernstein) 1
|Sponsor: Sinovac Biotech
2020 Sales: $6.622 million 2
2021 Forecast: N/A
BNT162b2 (sold as Comirnaty® in EU and Switzerland)
|Sponsors: Pfizer, BioNTech, and Fosun Pharma
2020 Sales: $154 million 3
2021 Forecasts: $13.5 billion (SVB Leerink); $13.7 billion (Morningstar); $14.3 billion (Bernstein); “approximately $15 billion” (Pfizer guidance); $19 billion (Morgan Stanley) 3
REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab)
|Sponsor: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
2020 Sales: $185.7 million
2021 Forecasts: $280.3 million (Canaccord Genuity); $900 million (Evaluate); $1.1 billion (SVB Leerink); Up to approximately $2.9 billion (Regeneron); $3.4 billion (Morningstar) 4
|3||Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (mRNA-1273)||Sponsor: Moderna
2020 Sales: $199.872 million 5
2021 Forecasts: $8 billion (Morningtstar); $10.9 billion (Bernstein); $11 billion (analyst consensus polled by FactSet and cited by Investor’s Business Daily); $13.2 billion (Goldman Sachs); $18.4 billion (Moderna guidance)
|2||Bamlanivimab||Sponsor: Eli Lilly
2020 Sales: $871.2 million
2021 Forecasts: Between $1 billion and $2 billion (Lilly guidance); $1.069 billion (Evaluate)
|1||Veklury® (remdesivir)||Sponsor: Gilead Sciences
2020 Sales: $2.811 billion 6
2021 Forecasts: $1.445 billion (Evaluate); Between $2 billion and $3 billion (Gilead guidance); $2.1 billion (Morningstar); $2.7 billion (Cowen); $2.82 billion (Baird); $4.2 billion (SVB Leerink) 7
1. AstraZeneca disclosed $2 million in C19VAZ product sales during the fourth quarter of 2020, which it included within its “other medicines” category. A company spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that vaccine sales are only booked when doses are shipped, and the $2 million in sales was offset by costs. The company did not include any revenue or profit guidance for C19VAZ for 2021. AstraZeneca said it “intends to report these sales separately from the next quarter.”
2. Sinovac has only reported results for the first three quarters of 2020. At deadline, the company had not announced a date for reporting Q4 and full-year 2020 results.
3. Pfizer is believed to anticipate pre-tax profits of between $3.5 billion and $4 billion from BNT162b2, according to SVB Leerink, based on disclosing publicly that it expects an adjusted income before tax (IBT) margin in the “high 20s as a percentage of revenue.” Pfizer has agreed to split gross profits 50%-50% with BioNTech under their up-to-$748 million COVID-19 vaccine development partnership, launched in March 2020. The partnership extends worldwide except China, where BioNTech has agreed to partner with Fosun Pharma to jointly develop the vaccine. BioNTech has agreed to split 35% to 40% of its gross profits with Fosun Pharma.
4. Regeneron records net product sales of REGEN-COV in connection with its agreements with the U.S. government. The company has told analysts that it expects in 2021 to recognize the remainder of its initial $450 million U.S. government contract for approximately 300 million doses—$264.3 million—in Q1 2021 (the other $185.7 million consisted of $40.2 million recognized in Q3 2020 and $145.5 million recognized during Q4 2020), and payments of up to $2.625 billion from the second contract covering up to 1.25 million additional doses during the rest of this year.
5. During 2020, Moderna also recorded grant revenue of $528.905 million that was “primarily due to the BARDA award,” referring to grant funding by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), in tandem with the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense and U.S. Army Contracting Command. Of the grant revenue, $341.37 million was recorded during the fourth quarter. In total, Moderna has received awards from BARDA totaling $5.75 billion, the most recent being $1.65 billion committed by the agencies on February 11 toward the purchase of 100 million additional doses of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine.
6. Consists of $1.938 billion in fourth quarter sales and $873 million in third quarter sales
7. Gilead’s 2021 guidance to investors, provided February 4, came nearly a month after the company on January 11 offered guidance of between $2.8 billion and $2.825 billion.