A confluence of new developments has shifted the landscape for COVID-19 drugs.
Consider the omicron variant and others presumably to follow, which could extend the pandemic. Then there's the ineffectiveness of Regeneron and Eli Lilly antibody treatments against the new strain—and the declining potential of Merck & Co.'s oral antiviral to treat COVID-19.
Add these factors together and what do you have?
Mammoth sales ahead for Pfizer’s COVID-19 franchise, or so say the analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald.
With Pfizer set to present its state-of-the-company address to investors on Friday, Cantor Fitzgerald believes the company’s COVID-19 vaccine and hotly anticipated antiviral drug could generate combined peak sales of between $50 billion and $60 billion.
A month ago, in reaction to interim results of a trial that showed 89% efficacy for Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill, Louise Chen of Cantor Fitzgerald said that the company was in “the catbird seat.”
A new term may have to be conjured to describe Pfizer's even-more-enhanced position now.
In a Thursday investor note, Chen said she projects Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine sales to reach $25 billion in 2027, a huge increase on her previous projection of $10 billion.
“I see COVID continuing to have new variants and coming back each season,” Chen wrote in an email to Fierce Pharma. “Much like the flu, Pfizer will eventually go into the private market, which will likely be lower-volume, but pricing will be higher.”
Earlier this week, Pfizer released updated results from the trial of its COVID-19 pill, which confirmed the impressive interim data—and again showed a 89% reduction in hospitalization or death for patients at high risk of serious illness. Separately, a second study in standard-risk adults showed a 70% reduction in hospitalization or death compared to placebo.
“The data/updates continue to support a best-in-class profile as well as a mega-blockbuster opportunity for Pfizer’s COVID-19 franchise,” Chen wrote in a note to clients.
Based on the updated study results, the European Union on Thursday ruled that its member countries can use Paxlovid even though the bloc’s drug regulator has yet to sign off on the treatment. The pill is for use among people who've been infected and are at high risk for developing a severe case of the virus.
“The advice signifies the strength of our data for Paxlovid in the treatment of high-risk adults diagnosed with COVID-19,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement announcing the decision by the EU.
In its third quarter earnings report, Pfizer projected sales of $36 billion for its vaccine this year and $29 billion in 2022. In its projections however, the company accounts only for supply agreements that have been made.
In October, Airfinity projected Pfizer's 2022 vaccine sales at $54.5 billion, which was more than twice the analyst consensus at the time.