- Moderna expects to deliver fewer doses of its coronavirus vaccine in 2021 than previously forecast, as longer shipping times abroad and production challenges hamper the company's ability to package and send out supplies.
- The biotech now anticipates this year it will deliver between 700 million and 800 million doses of its vaccine at the 100 microgram dose used for the primary two-shot regimen. In August, Moderna had said it could deliver between 800 million and 1 billion doses by the end of the year.
- As a result, Moderna on Thursday also cut its forecast for 2021 vaccine sales from $20 billion to between $15 and $18 billion. Some of those expected sales will shift to next year while Moderna also said it would prioritize deliveries to the World Health Organization's COVAX facility and the African Union, to which it charges a lower price per dose.
Moderna's scaled-back guidance contrasts with Pfizer, which earlier this week increased its forecast for 2021 sales of its vaccine to $36 billion. The pharmaceutical giant has greater manufacturing capacity than Moderna and expects to produce 3 billion doses this year, nearly three times as much as the smaller biotech.
Even with its lowered sales expectations, Moderna's financial windfall from the vaccine remains vast, particularly for a company that had no product on the market prior to the pandemic. Moderna has also signed $17 billion worth of advance purchase agreements for doses to be delivered next year, and claims another $5 billion in option and booster supply deals are possible.
The financial success of both vaccines has drawn significant criticism to Pfizer and to Moderna for not doing more to expand access to their shots in lower- and middle-income countries, many of which have yet to vaccinate a large proportion of their citizens.
Moderna, in particular, has become a target due to its comparatively smaller supply deals outside of developed countries, and because of the extensive support it received from the U.S. government in developing its vaccine. The company recently announced plans to build a vaccine factory in Africa, but advocacy groups are pressing Moderna to share the formula for its vaccine with other manufacturers — a position ostensibly supported in some fashion by the Biden administration.
Moderna recently announced an agreement to supply 110 million doses of its vaccine to the African Union, although all but 15 million are scheduled to be delivered in 2022. Meanwhile, a supply deal with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, would send the group 116 million doses next year as well.
This year, however, the majority of Moderna's supply has gone to the U.S., which received 287 million of the 509 million doses delivered through September 30.
Moderna's vaccine supply updates were announced Thursday alongside earnings for the third quarter. The company recorded $3.3 billion in profits on revenue of $5 billion. Moderna now has $15 billion in cash and equivalents.
Shares in the company, which have soared sky-high this year, fell by 17% Thursday morning, as investors responded to the lowered sales expectations.