The Jerusalem Post

J&J forecasts $2.5b. in vaccine sales this year

- • By MANAS MISHRA and CARL O’DONNELL

Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday forecast $2.5 billion in sales of its one-shot COVID-19 vaccine this year based on the current price of $5 per dose and said that could rise to $8 a dose by the end of the year.

The company now expects to produce 500 million to 600 million doses of its vaccine this year, Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk told CNBC on Wednesday. Manufactur­ing problems derailed its original goal of producing a billion shots this year.

J&J reported $164 million in COVID-19 vaccine sales for the second quarter, bringing total sales to $264 million so far.

While the J&J shot was authorized in the United States just a few months after those from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc were cleared, its vaccine sales outlook pales in comparison and reflects the widening gap in the global vaccine race. Pfizer and Moderna have forecast $26b. and $19.2b. in annual sales of their vaccines, respective­ly.

Analysts have said that lower demand for J&J’s vaccine should not affect the enormous company’s overall financials. Revenue for all the vaccines could jump if health officials determine a round of booster shots is needed should evidence show COVID-19 immunity is waning.

“It is simply too early to provide specific informatio­n on a 2022 outlook for our COVID19 vaccine given the uncertaint­y on the need for boosters and new variants,” Wolk said on a call with analysts.

The J&J vaccine appears to be durable for at least eight months and effective against prevalent coronaviru­s variants, Wolk said, citing recently published data from laboratory studies.

Because of its one-dose convenienc­e and less onerous storage and shipping requiremen­ts, J&J’s shot was once touted as an important tool for vaccinatio­ns in hard-to-reach areas. But after safety concerns and manufactur­ing stumbles, it has the lowest uptake in Europe among all the vaccines approved for use, and has also struggled to gain traction in United States.

Its vaccine has been linked to a very rare, potentiall­y life threatenin­g blood clotting condition, similar to AstraZenec­a’s. US regulators last week also added a warning related to a rare autoimmune disorder.

The US Food and Drug Administra­tion in April said its inspection found a long list of sanitary problems and bad manufactur­ing practices in the Baltimore factory run by J&J’s subcontrac­tor Emergent BioSolutio­ns Inc, shutting down production.

The FDA has so far approved five batches from the Emergent facility since production there was paused, and J&J is working to clear additional doses for use, Wolk said. (Reuters)

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