Moderna shares rise on better Covid vaccine outlook despite sharp drop in sales

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Artur Widak | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Shares of Moderna rose Thursday after the biotech company hiked its full-year outlook for its Covid vaccine, its only marketable product, despite reporting a quarterly loss and sharp drop in revenue. 

Here are Moderna’s results:

  • Loss per share: $3.62 (That may not be comparable to the $4.04 expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv)
  • Revenue: $344 million (That may not be comparable to the $319.6 million expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv)

The biotech company generated second-quarter sales of $344 million, largely due to a 94% drop in sales of its Covid shot. Total revenue plunged from the $4.75 billion it recorded in the same period a year ago, when Covid cases still trended higher in the U.S. 

Moderna posted a net loss of $1.38 billion, or $3.62 per share, for the quarter. That compares with $2.20 billion in net income, or $5.24 per share, reported during the same quarter last year.

But Moderna hopes to end the sales slump on strong demand for its updated Covid vaccine targeting the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5. The company is slated to roll the shot out this fall in the U.S. commercial market. 

Moderna expects $6 billion to $8 billion in sales from its Covid shot this year, driven by potential U.S. demand for 50 to 100 million doses in the fall. That’s up from its previous forecast of $5 billion. 

The forecast includes around $4 billion in previously announced Covid vaccine purchase agreements and $2 billion to $4 billion in “signed and anticipated” contracts in the U.S. and other markets. 

The company is in talks with other purchasers in the U.S., European Union and other parts of the world for more potential orders. However, Moderna said $1 billion in previously anticipated 2023 sales from signed government contracts was pushed to 2024.

Moderna shares rose nearly 4% in premarket trading. The Massachusetts-based company’s shares have dropped more than 38% this year, putting its market value at around $42 billion. 

Costs of sales for the quarter came in at $731 million. That included a $464 million write-off for vaccines that have exceeded their shelf life and a $135 million charge from unused manufacturing capacity, among other expenses.

The charges were primarily driven by a shift in product demand to the monovalent XBB.1.5 shot, which rendered the remaining inventory of Moderna’s previous bivalent vaccine obsolete. Bivalent means the shot targeted two strains of the virus, while a monovalent jab only targets one. 

Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax have all seen sales of their Covid-related products plummet as much of the world moves on from the pandemic and depends less on protective vaccines and treatments. 

But people are still dying from Covid every day and the virus isn’t fully going away anytime soon, so the drugmakers are investing in new products to fight it. 

This fall will be an important milestone for Moderna and its rivals.

The U.S. government will shift Covid products to the commercial market, which means drugmakers will start selling vaccines and treatments directly to health care providers rather than to the government.

Pfizer on Tuesday warned that Covid shot sales in the commercial market are uncertain, adding that vaccination rates will help the company better predict sales for 2023 and beyond.

Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax haven’t disclosed when they expect their new shots to be available to the public. All three drugmakers are waiting for the Food and Drug Administration to approve their jabs.

But new CDC Director Mandy Cohen told NPR on Monday that the new vaccines could be available by the “early October time frame.”

Moderna will hold an earnings call with investors at 8 a.m. ET, which will likely provide more updates on its upcoming Covid vaccine rollout and drug pipeline.

The company has said it hopes to offer a new set of lifesaving vaccines targeting cancer, heart disease and other conditions by 2030.

That lineup includes Moderna’s experimental vaccine that targets respiratory syncytial virus. The company expects to file for full approval of the shot for adults ages 60 and older this quarter. 

The pipeline also includes Moderna’s personalized cancer vaccine, a highly anticipated mRNA shot being developed with Merck to target different tumor types, along with a flu vaccine. 

Read More: Moderna shares rise on better Covid vaccine outlook despite sharp drop in sales

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