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Denmark, which ranks among the world's happiest countries year in and year out, has another reason to smile.
On Wednesday, Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic announced "all-time high revenues" in their latest quarterly earnings off the backs of an old smallpox vaccine that helped turn monkeypox from a looming global crisis into a suitably irritable afterthought.
For Bavarian Nordic, the global monkeypox outbreak became a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to elevate itself from obscurity. After its inception in 1994, Bavarian Nordic tried -- and failed -- to develop a treatment for pancreatic cancer. Then, ten years later, the company gained funding from the US government to create a vaccine to prevent the reemergence of a different pandemic: smallpox.
That jab, called Jynneos, was quickly identified as the best, and only, probable defense against monkeypox when cases rippled across the world this summer. Suddenly, Bavarian Nordic had a surprise hit on its hands:
- The company has been able to sell doses of the jab for anywhere between $70 and $300, sources told the Financial Times (by way of comparison, now that its government contracts are expiring, Pfizer is about to roughly quadruple the cost of its covid vaccine to around $110).
- Over 16 million doses were ordered worldwide as of late this summer, generating over $135 million in revenue for Bavarian Nordic in its latest quarter, a roughly 125% increase from the same quarter last year -- enough to likely push the company to a long-elusive "break-even result" this year, CEO Paul Chaplin told the FT.
Don't Get Too Comfortable: Weekly reported cases have fallen almost 90% since an early August high of over 7,000. But the World Health Organization continues to caution that complacency could lead to another wave of infections in the coming months -- meaning vulnerable populations need to stop monkeying around and get vaccinated.