COVID-19 vaccine market evolves, what’s next for 2023 ?
The COVID-19 market for biopharma is dwindling each quarter after nearly three years of a frenetic rush to provide vaccinations and medications against the most serious pandemic in a century. More changes are coming next year, forcing the top players to adjust their strategies.
Moderna and Pfizer launched their respective mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in 2020 and 2021, each having BioNTech by their sides, and swiftly established themselves as the top earners on the pandemic arena. It’s a story that doesn’t need to be recapped, but the action’s peak seems to be coming to an end.
Market analysts have noticed a decline in COVID-19 vaccination sales throughout 2022. For instance, Moderna reduced its yearly sales forecast for its vaccine from $21 billion to the $18 billion to $19 billion range after reporting third-quarter performance.
In contrast, BioNTech saw a 43% decline in sales during the quarter, dropping to $3.49 billion.
On the other hand, Pfizer increased its yearly forecast by $2 billion to $34 billion after reporting a successful quarter, indicating that the market still has some momentum.
What's Next for 2023 ?
Corporations aiming to replicate their pandemic sales gains might face challenges in 2023, and so far, companies have been quiet about their predictions. The three pandemic superstar firms will “battle with the shift to the post pandemic environment,” according to Lee Brown, global sector lead for healthcare at Third Bridge Group, who stated this in the fall as COVID revenues and earnings declined.
In the near future, ambiguity seems to be in store. In its third-quarter earnings call, BioNTech declined to predict vaccine sales for 2023, citing variables like demand uncertainty, price volatility, and variants.
At the time, Jens Holstein, the chief financial officer at BioNTech, remarked, “I think we’ve got to shift away from the mindset on the order book.” “It’ll probably take a few years. The actual risk is in making the wrong assumptions based on a single order book number. As a result, we are ceasing to provide some direction.
Similar to Moderna, which was unable to give a number for anticipated 2023 sales, Chief Commercial Officer Arpa Garay in November cited “a variety of circumstances” that made it difficult to make a precise projection.
Nevertheless, according to Moderna’s estimation, the market for COVID-19 boosters might rival that of flu shots in the United States. Brown from Third Bridge disagrees.
This fall, Brown saw a drop in interest in booster shots and stated, “Previously, consensus projected the number of yearly COVID-19 shots would approximate the number of annual flu vaccines, but now the U.S. market could be as low as one-third the size of the flu market.”
A private market
Analysts and vaccine producers are currently calculating their forecasts for 2023, but a new development should make their calculations more challenging. After years of government funding, it’s likely that the American market will soon become private.
Frank D’Amelio, chief financial officer of Pfizer, forewarned investors on an earnings call at the beginning of 2021 that the business will “clearly” increase prices in response to the “pandemic pricing environment.” The business recently restated its intentions to charge higher prices in the private sector.
After the final government supply contract expires, Pfizer global primary care and U.S. President Angela Lukin said during an investor call in October that the price will likely rise to between $110 and $130 per dose. She anticipated that the increased price would probably start to apply in the first quarter of 2023.
The cost of vaccination doses purchased by the government has so far been under $30 on average.
In the meantime, Moderna estimated its commercial price (PDF) projections to range between $82 and $100 per dosage at their September R&D day.
In a private market, according to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, Ph.D., his company may be “much more competitive.” The helmsman stated during a conference call this summer that he believes his business is “much more prepared” for the private market due to its marketing capabilities.
The majority of people with health insurance will still be able to obtain COVID-19 vaccines for free even after the government supply runs out, according to Jennifer Kates, Cynthia Cox, and Josh Michaud of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Research. This is despite the higher expected prices. The additional cost, however, may deter people without insurance or with inadequate insurance from getting vaccinated, the team warned.
A new race started
Another vaccination market could start to develop in 2023 as the COVID-19 vaccine race develops.
Important participants in the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) race include Pfizer, GSK, Sanofi, and AstraZeneca. According to a 2021 letter to clients from SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges, the market will be worth $10.5 billion over the following ten years. Porges predicted that GSK will receive $2.9 billion of the total income by 2030, followed by Pfizer ($2.1 billion), J&J ($1.7 billion), and Sanofi ($1.2 billion).
In the current sprint to the FDA finish line for their respective vaccines, GSK and Pfizer are nearly neck-and-neck. For its RSV vaccine in older adults, GSK received a priority review and a May 3, 2023, approval action date, whereas Pfizer received a priority review and a May 20, 2023, clearance action date.
In the meantime, Beyfortus, an RSV preventive antibody developed by Sanofi and AstraZeneca, received European approval in November. The businesses have not yet submitted the medication to American regulators.