Pfizer increases Paxlovid production capacity after Merck’s COVID tablet suffered unexpected effectiveness setback

Pfizer increases Paxlovid production capacity

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The effectiveness statistics for Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 medicine are now so promising that the Big Pharma giant is ramping up production even before the FDA issues an emergency use license. Paxlovid will now be produced in the amount of 80 million courses by the end of 2022 an increase from the originally planned 50 million courses. The information was released after Merck reported that the risk of hospitalization and mortality from its Ridgeback Therapeutics-partnered COVID antiviral, molnupiravir, dropped from 50% to 30% in the final study. Paxlovid, which has demonstrated an 89% risk reduction in outpatients, is thus expected to see increasing demand as a result of the new results.

The emergence of omicron, a novel coronavirus subtype, has raised questions about the efficacy of current vaccinations and therapies. Despite these concerns, Bourla believes Paxlovid will continue to be useful. To infect healthy cells, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 employs the spike protein on its surface. Paxlovid is a protease inhibitor that prevents the virus from replicating by blocking an enzyme required for replication. Pfizer currently seems to be in exclusively favorable positions for oral COVID therapy, with molnupiravir’s effectiveness collapse and Roche’s withdrawal from its Atea Pharmaceuticals-partnered COVID pill development.

Before Merck’s data update and the expansion of Pfizer’s capacity, SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges estimated Paxlovid could add $24.2bn to Pfizer’s top line in 2022. Pfizer’s overall income next year might top $100bn, according to Porges, due to an expected $29.7bn from BioNTech-shared COVID vaccination Comirnaty.


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