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How Big Is Pfizer's Vaccine Opportunity in India?

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD - May 16, 2021 at 5:08AM

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There are several variables that will make a key difference.

Pfizer (PFE -1.40%) and its partner BioNTech (BNTX -2.91%) are hoping to have an opportunity to win authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine in India. The heavily populated country currently faces a COVID-19 crisis. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on May 5, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss just how big Pfizer's opportunity in India could be.

Keith Speights: Pfizer ticker, there's P-F-E. Pfizer announced earlier this week that it's talking with the government of India about a potential accelerated pathway to authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine. Is this a significant development for Pfizer stock or its partner BioNTech ticker, there's BNTX. How big is the opportunity for Pfizer in India?

Brian Orelli: The population of India is around 1.35 billion. Last I heard they had less than 10% where they were partially or fully immunized. That leaves more than a billion people.

The questions here are at what price? At around $20 per dose, that would be $40 billion. You got to double that for two doses per person. Forty-billion-dollar opportunity, I suspect that's probably going to be a lot lower. I'm guessing India probably isn't going to be able to pay $20 dose. Then the question is, how much does that contract margins and profits?

The other question is capacity. Pfizer and BioNTech are selling everything that they can possibly make. It doesn't much matter whether they get approval in India earlier or later because they're selling everything they can possibly make.

Speights: It does seem like Pfizer is definitely interested in this opportunity. I think it was Pfizer's CEO made some comments about it earlier this week. I think Pfizer had actually filed for authorization in India already, I think several months ago. But then I think the company withdrew that filing because India was going to require an additional clinical study conducted inside the country itself.

Pfizer didn't want to do that and at least, not under those terms. I think the potential accelerated pathway would still involve a study in India, but it would be after the authorization, and it would be a very short study conducted for, I think maybe a month or so in the country. That doesn't sound too terribly bad.

Orelli: Yeah, that's obviously if they only have to look at antibody production versus actually looking at efficacy, that would be a lot cheaper and a lot affordable.

Speights: Yeah, it sounds promising for Pfizer and obviously this will be even bigger news for its partner BioNTech.

Orelli: Going back to my question, at what price? How much capacity do they have to expand into India?

Brian Orelli, PhD has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Keith Speights owns shares of Pfizer. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$48.58 (-1.40%) $0.69
BioNTech SE Stock Quote
BioNTech SE
$147.61 (-2.91%) $-4.43

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