COVID-19 vaccine-2023 - TECH LOVER COVID-19 vaccine-2023 - TECH LOVER

After nearly three years in a heated race to distribute vaccines and drugs against the most severe pandemic in a century, biopharma's COVID-19 market fades more and more each quarter. Next year, we'll see more changes that'll force the top players to pivot

In 2020 and 2021, Moderna and Pfizer—with BioNTech at its side—shot out of the gate with their respective mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, quickly earning spots as top moneymakers on the pandemic scene. It’s a story that doesn’t need recapping, but the height of the action seems to be winding down.

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Throughout 2022, market watchers have seen COVID-19 vaccine sales start to waver. After reporting third-quarter earnings, for instance, Moderna slashed its annual sales projection for its vaccine from $21 billion to the $18 billion to $19 billion range.

2023 should present a challenge for companies hoping to repeat their pandemic sales hauls—and so far companies are staying mum on their expectations. Lee Brown, global sector lead for healthcare at Third Bridge Group, said this fall that the three pandemic superstar companies will “struggle with the transition to the post pandemic environment” as COVID revenues decline alongside earnings.

In the immediate term, it appears uncertainty is on tap. During BioNTech's third-quarter earnings call, the company declined to forecast 2023 vaccine sales, citing factors such as uncertainly in demand, pricing and variants.

“I think we’ve got to move away from the thinking on the order book,” BioNTech Chief Financial Officer Jens Holstein said at the time. “It will take probably a few years. The danger really is to draw the wrong conclusions from some number on an order book. Therefore, we’re moving away from giving some guidance.”

Moderna, similarly, was unable to provide a figure for expected 2023 sales, with Chief Commercial Officer Arpa Garay in November citing “a number of variables” that hindered a reliable forecast.

Still, Moderna has estimated that the annual COVID-19 booster market could be the size of the U.S. flu shot market. Third Bridge's Brown disagrees.

"Previously, consensus estimated the number of annual COVID-19 shots would approximate the number of annual flu shots, but now the U.S. market could be as low as one-third the size of the flu market,” Brown wrote this fall, citing less enthusiasm for booster shots.