Moderna Expects 2021 Covid Vaccine Sales of $18 Billion

26.02.2021 - For mRNA vaccine maker Moderna, March is gearing up to roar in like a lion, with the tailwind setting the pace for the year ahead. Reporting 2020 financial results on Feb. 25, the US biotech that before last year had not sold a single product said it expects to take in more than $18 billion in revenue from sales of Covid-19 vaccines during 2021.

The value of the advance purchase agreements the Maryland-based company has already signed totals $18.4 billion, and it is in talks to deliver more doses over the next 2 years. In addition to supply deals with countries and political blocs such as the US, the EU, Japan, Canada, Korea, the UK and Switzerland, Moderna is in discussions with global organizations promoting fair distribution of coronavirus vaccines worldwide.

Pfizer/BioNTech, which manufactures the only other mRNA-based Covid shot on the market, recently said it expects its vaccine to generate sales of $15 billion this year, but the American-German duo expects to seal additional supply arrangements.

On Feb. 24, Moderna again raised its low-end target for the number of Covid vaccine doses it expects to produce in 2021 from 600 million to “at least” 700 million, while upholding its high-end estimate of as much as 1 billion. At the end of 2020, CEO Stéphane Bancel had named 500 million doses as this year’s target.

In 2022,  the US biotech, which has already delivered 60 million doses worldwide – all but 5 million to the US –  wants to make 1.4 billion doses,. However, Bancel said the total could depend on the dose needed for booster shots aimed at new variants. The current estimate assumes that boosters will require a dose of 100-μg, but if only 50 μg is needed, more than 2 billion doses could be cranked out.

Moderna plans to deliver 100 million doses to the US before the end of next month and another 200 million by the end of July. The company said it is also ramping up exports. It has pledged 310 million doses to the EU during 2021, and the European Commission has an option to take 150 million more in 2022. The UK is taking 17 million doses this year, Japan 50 million and Canada 44 million.

To unclog production bottlenecks hindering scale-up, Moderna is planning to invest both at its own sites and those operated by CDMO suppliers, which to date include industry leaders such as Lonza and Catalent. As one partner found that fill & finish operations were slowing the manufacturing process, technicians are now examining the feasibility of introducing 15-dose vials.

Beyond producing its existing vaccine, Moderna is working with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop vaccines against the South Africa variant and other coronavirus mutants. The company also wants look at the feasibility of making primary vaccines for people who don’t already have antibodies.

Pfizer and BioNTech said this week they are studying whether to add a third shot to their current regimen as a second booster but at the same time are preparing for a potential rapid adaption of the original vaccine to address the new variants.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist