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Moderna adjusts to changing outlook for COVID vaccine demand

Dive Brief:

  • Moderna on Thursday shifted its revenue forecast for the year to “at least” $6 billion from a previous range of between $6 billion to $8 billion, a change it said reflected COVID-19 vaccination trends in the U.S.

  • The biotechnology company also disclosed third quarter earnings showing a net loss of $3.6 billion, driven mainly by non-cash charges of $3.1 billion related to a “manufacturing resizing” and a tax charge. Shares slumped 6% Thursday on the news, but traded up Friday morning.

  • Moderna said it plans to break even in 2026 through “disciplined investment” and launches for new products like its mRNA flu and respiratory syncytial virus vaccines as well as a combination flu and COVID shot.

Dive Insight:

Waning demand for COVID vaccines has hit Moderna and Pfizer, which were previously earning tens of billions of dollars from their competing shots. Last month, Pfizer cut its financial guidance and revealed plans to lay off staff.

Moderna’s vaccine sales during the third quarter actually surpassed analyst expectations, and the biotech said its market share in the U.S. has increased to 45% compared to 36% in 2022.

But Moderna is anticipating sales for the year will come in at the low end of its previous guidance, based on the expectation at least 50 million COVID vaccine doses will be administered in the U.S. this fall. So far, the company says vaccine administration in retail pharmacies is tracking similarly to the 2022 fall season, and is continuing to run awareness marketing campaigns.

Revenue next year will fall to about $4 billion, Moderna said, and then grow in 2025, helped in part by the expected approval and launch of its experimental RSV vaccine next year.

Early returns from GSK and Pfizer, which launched the first two RSV vaccines for older adults in the U.S. this summer, suggest a strong market. Pfizer said its shot made over $300 million in sales between July and September, while GSK pulled about $860 million during the same period.

Moderna is also focusing on a combination flu and COVID shot, which recently entered Phase 3 testing.

“[With] these new product launches in ’24, ’25 and the combination of COVID sales in the endemic setting, we believe Moderna will be in sales growth again in 2025,” said CEO Stéphane Bancel on an earnings call.