Pfizer lays out COVID-19 vaccine commercial strategy for pandemic and beyond

With its trials and pricing set, Pfizer has pulled back the curtain on the long-range commercial strategy for its COVID-19 vaccine. During its earnings call Tuesday, execs laid out two phases, pandemic and seasonal, with some combination of the two likely to play out over the next several years.

The current pandemic phase, expected to continue through 2021 and even into 2022, means dose production in high volumes for mass vaccinations and pricing for broad access, said Angela Hwang, group president of Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals.

That broad access pricing is the $19.50-per-dose agreement with the U.S. for 100 million doses that will also be used as the benchmark price in developed countries around the world.

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In the second, more seasonal phase for the vaccine, Pfizer anticipates a steady stream of repeat vaccinations over a number of years. During that time, Hwang said, Pfizer expects a return to regular supply channels and “a more value-based pricing approach.”

Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla added that that more normal seasonal pricing strategy would be based on the competition at the time and the value the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine brings to the table.

Pfizer’s beyond-the-pandemic scenario casts COVID-19 as a prominent virus which will continue to circulate in society much like the flu. And while that means assessing societal needs and vaccination schedules for this particular novel coronavirus, Pfizer is also looking at the mRNA development platform it shares with BioNTech as “an important pillar,” not only against COVID-19 but also existing and future viruses.

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The mRNA platform will also be able to “disrupt the flu market, novel vaccines against CMV and even to go into a novel age group of RSV. So we see a very large opportunity based on the leadership we have with this mRNA platform, particularly by being able to engage both neutralizing antibodies and antiviral CD8 cells,” Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer, said on the call.