According to Reuters, a Pfizer spokesman said that due to challenges to the supply chain of vaccine raw materials, Pfizer decided to cut its 2020 vaccine production target to half of the original plan. The exposure of this news caused Pfizer’s share price to fall, and Pfizer responded urgently.
Reuters reported that Pfizer said in recent weeks that it expected to produce 50 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine this year, which is far below the early target of 100 million doses. The vaccine developed by Pfizer reportedly uses a two-date solution, which means that 50 million doses of vaccine can vaccinate 25 million people.
A spokesman for the company said, “It took longer than expected to expand the raw material supply chain.” She also pointed out that Pfizer announced the results of clinical trials later than expected, which is also one reason for the expected reduction in production doses by the end of 2020.
According to the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed person directly involved in the development of Pfizer vaccine said that “some of the raw materials in early batches did not meet the standards”, which led to a delay in production.
Pfizer’s raw materials are reportedly from suppliers in the United States and Europe. Last month, the production of these raw materials was problematic, but Pfizer did not disclose details of the shortage of raw materials.
After the relevant reports came out, Pfizer’s share price fell 2% to $40.09 on Thursday. Shares of the German biotechnology company BioNTech (BNTX) closed down 2% to $118.68, and then fell 1% in after-hours trading. Shares of its vaccine competitor Moderna (MRNA) Biotechnology Company rose 10% to $157.26, and fell 2% a few hours later.
Pfizer told Barron Weekly that the data quoted by the Wall Street Journal was outdated. A Pfizer company’s guidelines since the second week of November have been to deliver 50 million doses of vaccines globally this year and 1.3 billion doses in 2021, a spokesperson said.
The Wall Street Journal updated it after the original report was published. The latest report pointed out that Pfizer announced on November 9 that it would expand its goal of producing vaccines this year.
It is reported that in the typical process of vaccine development and vaccination, pharmaceutical companies will wait until the product is approved before starting to purchase raw materials, establish production lines and supply chains to transport vaccines.
But Pfizer has never produced a vaccine using mRNA technology, so it has to expand its production capacity for a long time when the research is still in progress. People familiar with the matter said: “We started to build the supply chain in March, when the vaccine was still under development. This is unprecedented.”
Pfizer and the German pharmaceutical company BioNtech are currently planning to launch 1.3 billion doses of vaccines in 2021, and the 50 million vaccine gap will be filled this year as production increases.
The UK has reportedly ordered 40 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer, enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The UK government said in November that up to 10 million doses of vaccines could be delivered during the year, but now it is expected that between 4 million and 5 million vaccines will be shipped.
The U.S. government has placed an initial order for 100 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer, and another 500 million doses can be purchased. The EU has booked 200 million doses of vaccines and has reserved 100 million doses for additional purchase. Japan ordered 120 million doses, and many countries in South America and the Asia-Pacific region also placed large orders.