Pfizer is considering a long-term commercial strategy for its Covid-19 vaccine, anticipating that the novel coronavirus could endure and a one-time vaccine dose may not be enough.
Evidence has not emerged yet on how long coronavirus antibodies could protect against the disease, noted Bloomberg. Also, data from early trials have not demonstrated that a vaccine could prevent the infection for a long term.
Pfizer expects that a Covid-19 vaccine could be needed regularly to effectively protect from the virus.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla was quoted as saying: “There is a likely scenario that either the vaccine’s immunity will not be lasting forever, or that the virus will mutate, or that the virus will find ways to come back again and again.”
During its earnings call on 28 July, the company proposed a two-phase commercial strategy for its vaccine, which is being developed in alliance with German company BioNTech and is currently undergoing clinical trials.
The first pandemic phase is expected to last through 2020 or into 2021, and will see dose production in high volumes for mass vaccinations, with pricing for broad access.
This broad access pricing is a $1.95bn agreement signed by the US Government last week to buy 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, if it receives regulatory approval.
The deal indicates a price of $19.50 per dose, or $39 for a two-dose regimen. However, the government will make the vaccine free to the public.
During the second seasonal phase, Pfizer sees the need for regular annual or bi-annual immunisations. This phase is set to involve a value-based pricing approach.
Bourla noted: “I can see that this would be a normal vaccination like the flu. If this disease is not so intense, the value will be lower than it is today, right? If there is a lot of competition, that will also affect price. $19.50 is a very, very low price for the value of the product right now.”
Pfizer is also working on treatments for Covid-19. It is assessing protease inhibitors that act on a key enzyme to hinder the virus’ life cycle in a patient. The company intends to seek regulatory approval to conduct a clinical trial this month.