Pfizer And Moderna’s Inoculation Rake-In

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

Yesterday was a big day. Just over three-quarters of a year since the start of the pandemic, the inoculation process began in the U.S.

Wall Street analysts predict a significant haul for Pfizer and Moderna, anticipating the firms will earn a collective $32 billion from the vaccines in 2021 alone. Talk about a shot in the arm.

Shot-Makers, Profit-Takers

Morgan Stanley projects Pfizer will reap $19 billion in Covid-19 vaccine revenue in 2021. That blows away its best-selling product – a pneumonia vaccine that brought in $5.8 billion in sales last year.

And looking ahead, Morgan Stanley expects Pfizer to collect another $9.3 billion in revenue in 2022-23 as its vaccine rolls out worldwide.

Unlike Pfizer, an established pharmaceutical maven, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine put the company on the map. Moderna has never previously licensed a product and had just $60 million in 2019 sales.

With its shot on the cusp of FDA approval and shares up almost 700% in 2020, Morgan Stanley says Moderna investors expect $10 to $15 billion of Covid-19 vaccine sales in each of the next two years. Goldman Sachs similarly pegs the company’s 2021 vaccine spoils at $13.2 billion.

Taking Shots

Not everyone is over the moon about Pfizer and Moderna pocketing tens of billions of dollars during a global pandemic. Eli Zupnick of progressive watchdog Accountable.US calls it “absolutely wrong” for drug companies to profit on vaccines “so heavily subsidized and supported by American taxpayers.”

  • Moderna received $955 million in federal grants to support its vaccine development, along with direct access to government scientists to examine its vaccine.
  • Pfizer locked up an agreement with the federal government to offload its first 100 million doses for $1.95 billion, giving the company a guaranteed initial market upon getting the FDA go-ahead.

Still others defend the companies as private institutions who have invested heavily in building their technology platforms. Pfizer said its vaccine development has been “entirely self-funded, with billions of dollars already invested at risk.”

The Holiday Spirit: Competitors Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have pledged to offer their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis, at least during the pandemic.