Moderna investors left disappointed by vaccine maker’s subdued sales forecast despite strong fourth quarter
Moderna has reaffirmed annual sales forecast of $5bn (£4.1bn) for its Covid-19 vaccines despite its fourth-quarter sales exceeding estimates, on expectations of lower demand for the shots in the fourth year of the pandemic.
Sales of the vaccine, Moderna’s sole commercial product, were expected to fall sharply this year from $18.4bn in 2022 as most people globally have received their shots and boosters, while governments and other agencies cut purchases.
The sales forecast implies a “possible EPS net loss” this year compared to the huge profit its Covid vaccines drove during its peak, Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a note.
However, there is a potential for positive cash flow this year if Moderna is able to get more advanced purchase agreements for its Covid shots, Yee said.
Moderna expects additional sales from markets including the United States, Europe and Japan.
The underwhelming sales forecast dragged shares of the company down 4.2 per cent to $151.5 in premarket trading.
Rival Pfizer had also forecast a bigger-than-expected drop in sales of its Covid-19 products, saying it expects 2023 to be a transition year for the products before potentially returning to growth in 2024.
Moderna’s forecast was lower than Refinitiv estimates of $6.98bn even though its Covid vaccine sales of $4.86bn in the fourth quarter were slightly higher than estimates of $4.84bn.
Investor focus is also now shifting to its vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus and seasonal flu. Moderna last week reported mixed results for its flu vaccine.
The company also reiterated its plans to file for regulatory approval its respiratory syncytial virus vaccine in the first half of 2023 as it looks to build its product portfolio beyond Covid vaccines.
Moderna reported a profit of $3.61 per shares for the fourth quarter, lower than the average of estimates of $4.68 per share.
Aditya Samal and Leroy Leo, Reuters