Moderna on Thursday reiterated its expectation that sales of its COVID-19 vaccine will total at least $5 billion in 2023, about a third of what the shot generated last year.
The forecast, which matches guidance given by the biotechnology company last month at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, came alongside a fourth quarter earnings report that appeared to disappoint investors. Shares in Moderna fell by 8% in Thursday morning trading, and are down by 25% over the past month, during which the company revealed mixed results for an experimental influenza vaccine.
Moderna’s COVID revenue predictions are closely watched, both as the shot is its only marketed product and as a barometer of the U.S. vaccine market. The company estimates about 100 million doses will be administered in the country this year, which will see distribution transition from federal government supply contracts to the private market.
Sales could rise above the $5 billion guidance depending on commercial contracting in the U.S. and potential supply deals elsewhere.
In response, both Moderna and rival Pfizer are planning significant price increases for their respective shots to above $100 per dose. Their plans have drawn criticism from lawmakers such as Senator Bernie Sanders, who has called on Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel to testify at a March 22 hearing on COVID vaccine prices.
Moderna recently said its vaccine would remain available to all U.S. residents at no cost and, on Thursday, provided some additional detail. Uninsured or underinsured individuals will be able to receive shots for free through a patient assistance program, while insured individuals won’t face any out-of-pocket costs regardless of whether they’re vaccinated at a pharmacy or doctor’s office, the company said,
Moderna is also anticipating regulatory guidance from the Food and Drug Administration on coronavirus strain updates that need to be made ahead of next fall. Advisers to the agency recently endorsed a plan to annually adapt COVID shots to match the prevalent variant.
Elsewhere, the company is also planning to launching its mRNA-based respiratory syncytial virus vaccine in 2024, and expects to ask for approval of its candidate in the first half of this year.