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Gareth Carpenter
15 Nov 2021

AstraZeneca to transition to ‘modest profitability’ on future COVID-19 vaccine orders

Company says it has concluded virus is in endemic phase and it is the ‘right time’ to switch

AstraZeneca will start to receive a modest profit from its COVID-19 vaccine as part of a post-pandemic commercial approach, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker announced at a press conference on Friday.

While the company made an initial commitment to provide the vaccine at cost, it said it was moving away from this model.

“The company is now expecting to progressively transition the vaccine to modest profitability as new orders are received,” AstraZeneca said in a statement. “COVID-19 vaccine sales in Q4 2021 are expected to be a blend of the original pandemic agreements and new orders, with the large majority coming from pandemic agreements.”

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot, co-developed with University of Oxford, will continue to be distributed to low-income developing countries on a no-profit basis.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told the conference that after discussions with experts, it had concluded coronavirus was becoming endemic and therefore it was the right time to switch contracts for many countries in 2022.

Revenues from the vaccine were around $1 billion in the third quarter, far less than the respective $13 billion and $5 billion rivals Pfizer and Moderna made in sales from their vaccines.

Soriot said he did not regret in any way AstraZeneca’s decision to roll out the vaccine on a non-profit basis.

“We are all very proud as a company of the impact we’ve had,” he said. “We are the second largest vaccine in the world in terms of volume, we saved millions of hospitalisations and we estimate about a million lives.”

Gareth Carpenter