The Perfect Enemy | Moderna’s COVID vaccine sales slide amid supply problems
October 29, 2023

By Tom Murphy, AP Health writer

CAMBRIDGE – Supply problems have again forced Moderna to delay some COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, a move that surprised Wall Street and contributed to a disappointing third quarter.

The vaccine developer said Thursday that short-term issues prompted it to shift some deliveries initially planned for this year into 2023. It now expects 2022 revenue from advance purchase agreements to be as much as $3 billion lower than what it had forecast in August.

CEO Stephane Bancel told analysts on a call to discuss the quarter that the company was dealing with complex manufacturing issues. They included switching from 10-dose vials to five doses, the launch of a new booster and providing two different boosters globally.

He said the company was working on some “robust fixes” so it would be in better shape for end-of-the-year production next fall.

“We’ve had quite a number of pain points,” Bancel said.

Last year, Moderna also scaled back expectations for COVID-19 vaccine deliveries in the third quarter due to supply issues. Bancel said then that the problems were short-term and can be fixed.

On Thursday, the company said it now expects between $18 billion and $19 billion in revenue from advance purchase agreements this year. That’s down from the approximately $21 billion it forecast in August.

That shift was unexpected, Cowen analyst Tyler Van Buren said in a research note. He added that the company’s $4.5 billion to $5.5 billion in confirmed advanced purchase agreements for 2023 also was well below average Wall Street expectations.

Company leaders said on the call with analysts that the 2023 range was a floor. They expect to add more contracts.

Moderna’s Spikevax is the company’s main source of revenue, outside of grants and money from collaborations. Vaccine sales slid 35% in the recently completed third quarter to $3.12 billion while total revenue tumbled to $3.36 billion.

Moderna’s net income fell 69% to $1.04 billion, and earnings per share totaled $2.53.

Analysts were looking for earnings of $3.30 per share on $3.53 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Rival vaccine maker Pfizer Inc. said last month that it will charge $110 to $130 for a dose of its COVID-19 vaccine once the U.S. government stops buying the shots. That’s expected to happen next year.

Moderna leaders on Thursday did not detail how much the company will charge for Spikevax. They said the price would reflect guidelines for cost effectiveness set by global health authorities.

Shares of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. added less than 1% to $150.07 Thursday morning while broader indexes slid.