Pfizer, US in talks for 'multibillion-dollar' supply deal for COVID-19 pill: WaPo

Pfizer building
As of 2021's third quarter, Pfizer has earned more than $24 billion on its BioNTech-partnered COVID-19 vaccine. (Tracy Staton)

Pfizer has already reeled in tens of billions with its COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic. Now, it's reportedly on the verge of striking a major deal to supply its therapeutic hopeful to the United States.

The Biden administration is expected to unveil plans this week to buy 10 million courses of Pfizer's COVID pill, The Washington Post reports, citing two people close to the matter. That would amount to a roughly $5 billion deal for Pfizer, assuming the drug wins FDA authorization and the U.S. purchases it at the $500-per-course price cited by a Post source.

Call it a sweetener: As of 2021's third quarter, Pfizer has already snared more than $24 billion in global sales from its BioNTech-partnered vaccine Comirnaty.

As for Paxlovid, Pfizer has already started manufacturing the drug and has said it could have enough to cover 100,000 to 200,000 people by the end of the year. The company would be able to supply millions more in the first half of 2022, according to the newspaper.

RELATED: Merck's molnupiravir will be a blockbuster drug during pandemic. What about endemic COVID-19?

The purchase would follow a similar deal for Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics' COVID drug molnupiravir, which is currently under review by the FDA. The U.S. has agreed to pay around $2.2 billion for 3.1 million courses of that drug, assuming molnupiravir passes muster with regulators. Compared to Pfizer's pill, molnupiravir costs about $700 for each course of treatment, The Washington Post reports. 

Meanwhile, Pfizer on Tuesday took steps to ensure manufacturing capacity for Paxlovid in countries of need. The company inked a deal with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to license Paxlovid in the name of affordable global access. 

The MPP deal sets the stage for sub-licensees to supply 95 countries that make up 53% of the world's population, Pfizer said. Three weeks back, Merck and Ridgeback forged a similar MPP pact for molnupiravir.

RELATED: Pfizer, like Merck, inks deal to license COVID-19 pill and boost global supply

Adding to Tuesday's news, Pfizer said it had submitted the therapeutic hopeful to the FDA for a potential emergency use authorization.

Overall, Pfizer could be looking at between $15 billion and $25 billion in 2022 sales of Paxlovid, Barclays Equity Research analysts wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. That prediction operates on the assumption that pricing holds between $300 and $500 per course, and that more than 90% of doses are distributed.