Moderna Inc. on Thursday cut its 2022 COVID-19 vaccine sales forecast, citing regulatory and production delays, and issued a 2023 outlook for shots below Wall Street’s projections, sending its shares down nine percent. I.
It expects sales of US$4.5 billion to US$5.5 billion from the signed COVID vaccine contracts for the next year, as against analysts’ estimates of US$9.5 billion.
The forecast comes despite the company delaying up to US$3 billion in 2022 vaccine sales it will now deliver in 2023 due to quality control issues at its contract manufacturing partner. The company had said that its outlook for 2023 does not include expected contracts with countries such as the United States and Japan, and that it forecast “floor” sales for next year.
The demand for COVID vaccines has decreased globally. Moderna agreed earlier this year to push back deliveries on its contract with the EU to late 2022 or early 2023. It also scrapped an existing deal with vaccine alliance GAVI, and a new deal instead to supply up to 100 million doses to the organization. Its updated booster vaccine for some of the world’s poorest countries in 2023.
Moderna’s new sales forecast comes after Pfizer Inc. said it plans to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 shot after the United States moves away from government funding to a private market for COVID-19 vaccines next year .
Moderna declined to answer questions on a new US price during a conference call to discuss third-quarter results. The private market may be unpredictable and vaccine deliveries may be seasonal, such as with flu shots, the company said.
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“We anticipate a more fragmented customer base, including private payers, health plans, pharmacy chains, individual pharmacies and physician offices,” said Arpa Gare, Moderna’s chief commercial officer. “We also expect a lower forecast in orders.”
With production delays, Moderna’s third quarter was marred with manufacturing complications due to the move from 10-dose vials to five-dose vials and the roll out of new bivalent vaccines targeting both the original coronavirus and Omicron variants, Chief Executive Stefan Bansel said.
“We are working through those issues as we speak,” he said.
Quality control issues at contract manufacturer Catalent have resulted in the slow rollout of Moderna’s recalled COVID-19 boosters.
The US health regulator has been authorizing dosing at the Catalent plant on a batch-by-batch basis.
“You can tell this company is in its infancy versus a Pfizer, which is bigger and ready, and can manufacture and ship,” said Citeline analyst Sarah LaFevre.
Moderna now expects 2022 vaccine sales of US$18 billion to US$19 billion, compared to a prior forecast of $21 billion.
Third-quarter sales of US$3.36 billion fell short of Wall Street’s estimate of US$3.53 billion.
After initially falling to USD 135.09 in early trade, Moderna shares corrected and were flat at around USD 148.79.