Moderna scales back vaccine sales projection for 2021

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Moderna scaled back its projection for COVID-19 vaccine sales this year by as much as $5 billion as it predicts some dose deliveries will be postponed until next year.

The manufacturer estimated on Thursday that its vaccine sales will reach between $15 billion and $18 billion – a drop from its previous $20 billion forecast. Moderna attributed its lowered outlook to less expected shipments this year, as well as the prioritization of getting doses to lower-income countries through the COVAX program co-led by Gavi, the World Health Organization  and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Moderna predicted it will deliver between 700 million and 800 million doses this year, a decrease from its previously projected range of between 800 million and 1 billion doses. 

The Massachusetts-based company pointed to longer delivery times for international shipments, a “temporary” effect from expanding its bottling capacity and an overall boost in production.

Still, Moderna expects to achieve between $17 billion and $22 billion in its 2022 sales due to its purchasing agreements and the booster market. The vaccine manufacturer projects to earn up to $2 billion in sales from booster doses after the U.S. authorized Moderna boosters last month.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said the company is looking to provide “significantly more” of its 2022 vaccine volume to low-income countries, after setting aside about 10 percent this year.

“We are humbled to have helped hundreds of millions of people around the world with our COVID-19 vaccine and yet we know our work is not done,” he said. “We will not rest until our vaccine is available to anyone who needs it.”

Moderna reported a third quarter total revenue of $5 billion, less than the $6.2 billion analysts had predicted. Following the adjusted forecast, Moderna’s shares fell by at least 15 percent on Thursday morning.

Moderna’s cut in expected sales represents a contrast from Pfizer’s projections, as the latter vaccine manufacturer raised its prediction for 2021 sales to $36 billion this year in an announcement earlier this week. Pfizer declared it expects to bring in another $29 billion in sales next year.

Unlike Moderna’s vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been cleared by the U.S. to be given to children and adolescents, including this week to 5- to 12-year-olds. 

Moderna, on the other hand, said on Sunday that the Food and Drug Administration needed more time to review its application for administering its vaccine to 12- to 17-year-olds, with a potential delay until early 2022. In response, the company decided to postpone its application to authorize its vaccine for those aged 6 to 11. 

But White House officials said the delayed review will not impact the Biden administration’s vaccine rollout for children, as the government has enough Pfizer-BioNTech doses to vaccinate all 28 million children aged 5 to 11. 

Updated on Nov. 5 at 9:06 a.m.

Tags booster doses boosters Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Moderna Moderna vaccine Pandemic Sales Vaccine vaccine sales

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