Moderna on Thursday posted a steep loss for the third quarter as it recorded a large write-down due to unused doses of its Covid vaccine, its only marketable product, and unveiled plans to scale back production of the shot.
Moderna’s total revenue for the period topped Wall Street’s expectations, even amid plummeting demand for its shot. Its outlook for next year, however, came in lower than what analysts were projecting.
Here’s what Moderna reported for the third quarter compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:
- Loss per share: $9.53. That may not be comparable to the $1.93 per share expected by analysts.
- Revenue: $1.83 billion vs. $1.40 billion expected
Shares of Moderna fell 6% in morning trading Thursday. Moderna’s stock is down more than 57% for the year as of Wednesday’s close, putting the biotech company’s market value at roughly $29 billion.
Moderna posted a net loss of $3.63 billion, or $9.53 per share, for the quarter. That compares with net income of $1.04 billion, or $2.53 per share, reported during the year-ago period.
The company said the loss was primarily driven by $3.1 billion in mostly non-cash charges related to tax allowances and changing its manufacturing footprint. The resizing, which resulted in $1.4 billion in charges during the third quarter, aims to make the company’s Covid vaccine profitable in 2024 and beyond, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.
The effort includes reducing manufacturing capacity and commitments with several third-party vendors and cutting back on purchase commitments for raw materials for products, Moderna CFO Jamey Mock said during an earnings call Thursday.
“During the pandemic, we were obsessed about scaling up manufacturing to make as many doses as we could to help as many people as we could. And now that we’re moving into an endemic setting, it is important to resize the company,” Bancel said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.
Cost of sales for the quarter came in at $2.2 billion. That included a $1.3 billion charge for vaccines that have exceeded their shelf life and a contract manufacturing wind-down cost of $500 million, among other costs.
The biotech company generated third-quarter sales of $1.83 billion, with sales of its Covid shot dropping 44% from the same period a year ago. Total revenue plummeted from the $3.36 billion Moderna recorded in the third quarter of 2022, when Covid cases still trended higher in the U.S.
Moderna reiterated its current full-year outlook of at least $6 billion in Covid vaccine sales, but did not provide a range for that forecast. In August, Moderna said it expected its shot to rake in $6 billion to $8 billion in revenue in 2023.
Covid vaccine questions
The company said its guidance assumes Covid vaccine trends will be consistent with last fall, but noted that U.S. vaccination rates are still the “largest remaining variable to sales for the year.”
“We believe that this season seems to be – and we have to be careful with December – but seems to be on track with last year. A little bit ahead of last year if you look at the weekly data,” Bancel told CNBC.
Notably, Moderna said its Covid vaccine has won 45% of the U.S. market share so far this fall, up from the 36% market share it captured in 2022.
Bancel added that company expects the U.S. market for Covid shots to be at least 50 million doses this fall, which is consistent with last year and is “something we repeat again in 2024.”
“Our assumption is everyone who has gotten their booster in 2023 will at least get their booster also in 2024 and beyond,” Moderna CCO Arpa Garay said during the earnings call. Garay added that the company expects to see “some increase in the overall Covid market” as patients become more understanding of annual vaccine recommendations.
Moderna expects roughly $4 billion in sales in 2024, mostly in the second half of the year, mainly due to global Covid shot sales and the launch of its vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Wall Street analysts had expected $6 billion next year.
Mock said the company expects 2024 sales to be the “low point” for the company. Moderna expects to return to organic sales growth by 2025.
Moderna and its rivals Pfizer and Novavax have all seen sales of their Covid-related products plummet as much of the world moves on from the pandemic and depends less on protective vaccines and treatments.
Moderna is hoping to shift investor focus away from Covid toward a pipeline of new vaccines. The company is developing shots targeting other respiratory diseases and has said it hopes to offer a slew of new jabs targeting cancer, heart disease and other conditions by 2030.
“We’re talking up to 15 products in the next five years and quite a number of them in ’24 and ’25,” Bancel told CNBC. “That’s how we drive growth again, the products.”
The lineup includes Moderna’s experimental vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The company in July filed for full approval of the shot for adults ages 60 and older and expects a decision from regulators in 2024.
Moderna is also hoping to win approval for its combination vaccine targeting Covid and the flu in 2025. That shot recently showed positive initial results in a mid-stage clinical trial and is expected to deliver greater convenience to patients and health care providers.
The pipeline also includes Moderna’s personalized cancer vaccine, a highly anticipated shot being developed with Merck to target different tumor types, along with a flu vaccine.