Moderna Revenue Triples on Soaring Covid-19 Vaccine Sales

Moderna Revenue Triples on Soaring Covid-19 Vaccine Sales



Moderna Inc.


MRNA -1.88%

said that its first-quarter revenue and profit tripled from a year earlier on higher sales of its Covid-19 vaccine and that a fall booster-shot campaign could drive continued sales gains.

The biotechnology company’s revenue topped $6 billion in the period ended March 31, beating analyst expectations and rising from $1.94 billion a year earlier, driven almost entirely by sales of its messenger RNA-based vaccine, branded as Spikevax.

The year-earlier period was the first full quarter of the vaccine’s availability, and there was a limited supply available initially, while more recently there has been a surplus of doses in some regions. Many are being used as booster shots.

Moderna is the latest drugmaker to show surging sales due to demand for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, following recent reports from

Eli Lilly

& Co.,

Merck

& Co. and

Pfizer Inc.

The Cambridge, Mass., company also reiterated its forecast of the value of signed Covid-19 vaccine supply contracts that could yield continued sales growth for full-year 2022, as the company seeks to widen use of its vaccine.

Moderna said it has $21 billion in advance purchase agreements for full-year 2022, after posting $18.5 billion in revenue for 2021.

As fourth doses of Covid vaccines roll out, some are questioning whether the general population needs them. At the center of this debate are mysterious T-cells. WSJ’s Daniela Hernandez explains T-cells’ role in Covid immunity and how they relate to antibodies. Illustration: Laura Kammermann

The 2022 agreements don’t include a new supply agreement with the U.S. government. A new federal contract—or possible private-market purchases in the U.S.—could boost revenue. But that could be partly offset by some purchasers recently scaling back dose orders, including the Covax program for lower- and middle-income countries, Moderna said.

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is its first and only marketed product. The company has nearly 30 other drugs and vaccines in clinical trials using its mRNA technology.

Moderna reported net income of $3.66 billion for the first quarter of 2022, compared with $1.22 billion in the same period a year ago.

First-quarter earnings climbed to $8.58 a share from $2.84 a year earlier. Wall Street analysts had been expecting $5.37 a share for the quarter, according to FactSet.

Moderna is seeking U.S. authorization to expand the use of its vaccine to include children. And it is developing a modified booster shot targeting two coronavirus strains, which could be used for a fall booster campaign in the U.S. if government officials agree.

Moderna Chief Executive Officer

Stephane Bancel

said Wednesday it is possible the Food and Drug Administration in June would authorize the use of its vaccine in children ages 6 months to 5 years old. Moderna submitted a request last week for such an authorization after a study showed it safely induced immune responses in children.

“We feel, from a scientific standpoint, very comfortable that two doses will protect young children,” Mr. Bancel said in an interview Wednesday.

The FDA is expected to hold a meeting of outside vaccine advisers in June to consider the evidence.

If regulators agree, one of the last remaining age groups still not eligible for Covid-19 vaccination in the U.S.—children under 5 years—could begin to receive shots. Moderna’s vaccine is currently authorized for adults 18 and older, while the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and

BioNTech SE

is cleared for anyone 5 and up.

Moderna also is seeking clearance for use of its vaccine in children six to 17.

Moderna’s vaccine is given as a primary series of two doses, four weeks apart. An initial booster shot is recommended at least five months after the second dose, and a second booster dose is recommended for people 50 and older, or for younger adults with certain underlying conditions, at least four months later.

Moderna also expects there will be a need for an additional booster shot in the fall to sustain protection, and that it should be a modified, “bivalent” shot that targets both the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron variant. The current vaccine, including the booster shot, was designed to target the original strain.

Moderna started testing such a bivalent booster shot in a clinical trial in March, and expects initial data in June. Mr. Bancel said Moderna would need to know around June which form the booster shot will take for the fall campaign, to be able to produce hundreds of millions of doses.

“We believe that the science is that a bivalent product containing Omicron will be better than the current vaccine,” he said.

If there is a need for annual Covid-19 booster shots, Moderna could further modify the shots in future years to better target circulating strains of the virus, Mr. Bancel said.

Moderna shares rose 4% in Wednesday morning trading. At Tuesday’s close, the shares were down 42% year-to-date on investor uncertainty about how long the strong Covid-19 vaccine sales will last, but the stock price remains well above prepandemic levels.

More than 76 million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated with Moderna’s shots, and about 43 million have been given the company’s boosters, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That makes its vaccine the second most used in the U.S., behind the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.

Write to Peter Loftus at [email protected]

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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