Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Guardian: "AstraZeneca and Moderna’s contrasting rewards for fighting Covid hardly seem fair"

In my reporting for Franklin Matters, I like to use the line "to follow the money" and in so doing I focus on the Finance Committee, Town Council and School Committee. So this article on the profit approach of the vaccine makers caught my eye.

"Compare and contrast. AstraZeneca is currently producing COVID vaccines for no profit and still manages to get beaten up by opportunists in Brussels. Over in the US, Moderna is hailed as a national saviour while shouting from the rooftops about how its commercial prospects have been transformed by its own COVID vaccine.

Moderna’s full-year statement on Thursday was extraordinary. The company expects to generate revenues of $18.4bn (£13.1bn) year from deals it has signed to supply its vaccine, which is priced at $30–$36 a shot, so is definitely intended to produce a chunky profit margin. That revenue forecast is enormous. For comparison, AstraZeneca’s entire established portfolio – for cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory treatments and more – generated sales of $26.6bn last year.

The backstories to the vaccines are very different, of course. Moderna was a loss-making biotechnology firm that has poured billions into developing messenger RNA technology (also used in the BioNtech/Pfizer product) and a successful return on that investment was never guaranteed. AstraZeneca has merely accelerated original research done at Oxford University – and a condition of the partnership was “at cost” pricing for all the deals to date."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

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