The future market for Covid-19 vaccines could be worth more than $10bn (£7.6bn) in annual revenues for pharmaceutical companies, according to industry experts, even though some drugmakers have pledged to provide their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis during this pandemic.

The calculations by analysts at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse assume people will need to be vaccinated every year, similar to the traditional flu jab, with an average price of $20 for a Covid-19 vaccine dose. Prices range from $3 a dose to $37.

Matthew Harrison, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, estimates that even if only those who receive an annual flu jab take a Covid-19 shot, this would generate $10bn a year in revenues for the pharmaceutical industry in the US, Europe and other developed countries. He put the cost of producing a vaccine at $5-$10 a dose. The size of the market depends on whether people need to take the vaccine every year, or less frequently, as well as vaccination rates, and could be worth up to $25bn a year globally, he said.

Evan Seigerman, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said the US market alone could be worth $10bn, based on Pfizer’s vaccine pricing of $19.50 a dose, and assuming that 330 million citizens receive two doses each.

Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president at AstraZeneca, said the company hoped the coronavirus vaccine it was developing with the University of Oxford would “be effective for at least a year, maybe longer”.

Drugmakers have received billions of dollars from governments in recent months to speed up vaccine development as the pandemic worsened.

The UK government provided £84m to fund vaccine research in May – £65.5m of which went to support the AstraZeneca/Oxford trials, and £18.5m to Imperial College, which is also working on a Covid-19 vaccine. AstraZeneca has also received funding from the US government as part of a $1.2bn deal to supply 300m doses.

The UK has secured more than 350m doses through supply deals for six different Covid-19 vaccines. The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is expected to be one of the first to be submitted for regulatory approval at the end of the year, assuming clinical trials are wrapped up successfully.

Unveiling AstraZeneca’s quarterly results, the chief executive, Pascal Soriot, said the company had mass produced the vaccine and would be ready to supply hundreds of millions of doses from January.

AstraZeneca and the US drugmaker Johnson & Johnson have pledged to make their vaccines available on a not-for-profit basis during this pandemic, but others, such as Pifzer and the US biotech firm Moderna, have taken a different stance. The loss-making Moderna, which has received nearly $1bn in research funding from the US government, wants to sell its vaccine for up to $37 a shot.

AstraZeneca charges governments $3 to $5 a dose to cover its costs. Poorer countries will always get the vaccine on a cost basis, even when the pandemic is over, the UK firm said. GSK, which is working on a vaccine with France’s Sanofi, does not expect to profit from it during the pandemic and said the company would invest any short-term profit in coronavirus related research.

In China, Sinovac Biotech is selling its vaccine, called CoronaVac, at $60 for two shots in some cities as part of an emergency use programme.



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