Moderna falls as waning demand for COVID-19 vaccines hit sales, profit By

Moderna falls as waning demand for COVID-19 vaccines hit sales, profit

© Reuters

By Geoffrey Smith — Moderna (NASDAQ:) stock fell in premarket trading after the company reported a shop drop in profit at the end of last year, as demand for its COVID-19 vaccines tailed off.

The company said diluted fell by more than two-thirds from a year earlier to $3.61 in the three months through December, well below the $4.70 expected. Revenue, down 30% at $5.08 billion, was fractionally above expectations.

Moderna has used the windfall from its messenger RNA-based vaccine to push development of other drugs, notably, a personalized cancer treatment to be applied in conjunction with Merck’s (NYSE:) Keytruda immunotherapy drug.

“We are investing to scale Phase 3 manufacturing for personalized cancer vaccines so that we can run several Phase 3 studies simultaneously,” chief executive Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.

However, it remains largely dependent on COVID vaccine sales in the near term and signaled a correspondingly weak revenue outlook this year. It has contracted only $5B in sales for 2023 and expects sales of only $2B in the first half of the year.

Moderna didn’t disclose any details of new share buybacks, despite having over $18B in cash on its balance sheet at the end of last year. It has earmarked $4.5B for research and development in 2023.

It expects to update on the effectiveness of its experimental flu vaccine before the end of next month, and it will file for regulatory approval of its treatment for respiratory syncytial virus in older adults in the first half. The latter was recently granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation.

The company also announced that Juan Andres, who currently heads its Strategic Partnerships and Enterprise Expansion operations, will retire from the company in May.

By 08:50 ET, Moderna stock was down nearly 4%, which would represent its lowest level in four months.

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