Bavarian Nordic’s Quarterly Earnings Pop on Monkeypox Vaccine

Photo credit: NIAID/Flickr

Sign up for smart news, insights, and analysis on the biggest financial stories of the day.

Denmark, which ranks among the world’s happiest countries year in and year out, has another reason to smile.

On Wednesday, Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic announced “all-time high revenues” in their latest quarterly earnings off the backs of an old smallpox vaccine that helped turn monkeypox from a looming global crisis into a suitably irritable afterthought.

Monkey Business

For Bavarian Nordic, the global monkeypox outbreak became a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to elevate itself from obscurity. After its inception in 1994, Bavarian Nordic tried — and failed — to develop a treatment for pancreatic cancer. Then, ten years later, the company gained funding from the US government to create a vaccine to prevent the re-emergence of a different pandemic: smallpox.

That jab, called Jynneos, was quickly identified as the best, and only, probable defense against monkeypox when cases rippled across the world this summer. Suddenly, Bavarian Nordic had a surprise hit on its hands:

  • The company has been able to sell doses of the jab for anywhere between $70 and $300, sources told the Financial Times (by way of comparison, now that its government contracts are expiring, Pfizer is about to roughly quadruple the cost of its covid vaccine to around $110).
  • Over 16 million doses were ordered worldwide as of late this summer, generating over $135 million in revenue for Bavarian Nordic in its latest quarter, a roughly 125% increase from the same quarter last year — enough to likely push the company to a long-elusive “break-even result” this year, CEO Paul Chaplin told the FT.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable: Weekly reported cases have fallen almost 90% since an early August high of over 7,000. But the World Health Organization continues to caution that complacency could lead to another wave of infections in the coming months — meaning vulnerable populations need to stop monkeying around and get vaccinated.