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Moderna Tries to Restore Waning Sales With New COVID Booster, RSV Shot

Moderna Inc, a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA therapeutics and vaccines, on August 3rd forecast $6-8 billion in revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine from both government contracts and selling to a private market this year. Moderna said it expects demand to grow further in 2024 and match the market for flu shots.

Expanding operations to Latin America and COVID-19 vaccine use to kids 

Moderna expects 2023 COVID-19 vaccine sales of $6 billion to $8 billion, with approximately $4 billion from previously announced COVID-19 vaccine Advance Purchase Agreements (APAs) and $2 billion to $4 billion in signed and anticipated commercial contracts in the U.S., as well as other markets. The range for product sales is primarily driven by the U.S. fall 2023 COVID-19 market size, which is dependent on vaccination rates and is likely to be 50 to 100 million doses, the company’s forecast says. So, the vaccine maker anticipates $4 billion in sales to governments this year, and between $2 and $4 billion in a private market for the shot in the United States and other countries. It had previously expected sales of $5 billion from government contracts.

Last year, Moderna announced an agreement with Adium Pharma S.A., a leading private Latin American pharmaceutical company, to support the commercialization and distribution of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax across Latin America. A little over a month later, Moderna announced it had submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273) in children 6 months to under 2 years and 2 years to under 6 years of age. Similar requests are underway with international regulatory authorities. 

Drastic fall in sales because the government-backed market is shrinking

Now, the government-backed market for COVID vaccines is shrinking, and both Moderna and rival Pfizer (PFE.N) have reported a drastic fall in sales of their shots in the second quarter. 

Moderna and Pfizer are currently looking toward an autumn vaccination campaign using updated shots targeting the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant of the coronavirus, and with a significantly higher price than they had charged governments.

U.S. health officials have said COVID cases and hospitalizations have begun to rise again.

Moderna and Pfizer did not yet announce a final price for their vaccines in the private market, but said to expect them to be substantially higher than what they charged governments at the height of the pandemic.

Moderna told Reuters in March it expected to price its COVID vaccine at about $130 in the U.S. When the company launched the COVID vaccine in late 2020, it initially priced the shot in the range of $25-$37 per dose.

In the second quarter, Moderna’s COVID vaccine sales plummeted 94% to $293 million. That still exceeded analysts’ average estimate of $233.6 million, according to Refinitiv data.

Moderna said $1 billion in anticipated vaccine sales to governments this year had been deferred to next year. The company’s research and development costs surged 62% to $1.1 billion in the quarter.

Chief Commercial Officer Arpa Garay stated on a conference call that, over time, the demand for COVID shots could converge closer to the estimated 150 million doses, especially considering the high disease burden and potential future combinations with RSV and flu shots.

Other products to replace the lost COVID vaccine sales 

Moderna is seeking to replace waning COVID vaccine sales with other products, such as its experimental flu and RSV vaccines that also use messenger RNA technology.

The company’s RSV shot is also a key part of its future projections. 

The company is preparing for a 2024 launch of this next commercial product and said it had already begun manufacturing the shot in anticipation of an approval. Moderna began submitting approval applications in July, and plans to use a priority review voucher to speed up its evaluation in the U.S.

The company continues to expect a 2024 launch of its RSV vaccine, one season behind rival vaccines from Pfizer and GSK, with a potential best-in-class profile and has initiated a rolling submission process for a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the FDA. The Company has also completed regulatory applications in Europe, Switzerland, Australia and the U.K., and has started to manufacture mRNA-1345. mRNA-1345 will be provided to customers in ready-to-use pre-filled syringes.

About Moderna

In 10 years since its inception, Moderna has transformed from a research-stage company advancing programs in the eld of messenger RNA (mRNA), to an enterprise with a diverse clinical portfolio of vaccines and therapeutics across seven modalities, a broad intellectual property portfolio in areas including mRNA and lipid nanoparticle formulation, and an integrated manufacturing plant that allows for both clinical and commercial production at scale and at unprecedented speed. 

Moderna maintains alliances with a broad range of domestic and overseas government and commercial collaborators, which has allowed for the pursuit of both groundbreaking science and rapid scaling of manufacturing. Most recently, Moderna’s capabilities have come together to allow the authorized use and approval of one of the earliest and most-effective vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderna’s mRNA platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery technology, and manufacturing, and has allowed the development of therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and auto-immune diseases.

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