The U.S. market for COVID-19 vaccines could be worth as much as nearly $13 billion annually, depending on the price and rate of uptake, Moderna executives said on Thursday.
At $64 to $100 per shot, the vaccines would generate anywhere from $5.2 billion to $12.9 billion, Moderna chief commercial officer Arpa Garay said at the company’s annual R&D event. The figure would be towards the low end if public health officials only recommend boosters for adults at high risk of COVID-19’s worst health outcomes. Sales would be much higher if yearly shots are recommended for all 258 million U.S. adults and half of them get vaccinated, according to Garay.
“As we think about the size of the COVID market going forward, there’s two key levers,” she said. “One is how many people actually choose to get vaccinated … the second is really around pricing.”
Moderna is assuming about half the population will opt for yearly shots and basing its estimate on U.S. flu vaccination rates, which are generally lower than other high-income countries, she said. The assumption also closely mirrors the number of U.S. adults who have received at least one booster shot.
Moderna outlined its expectations ahead of a coming shift in COVID-19 vaccine sales to the private market next year, once the government stops purchasing new shots and treatments.
The pharmaceutical industry has said that commercial prices will need to be higher than the discounted prices governments get for bulk purchases. The initial deal Moderna signed with the U.S. in 2020, for instance, had an implied $15 price per dose, though the company charged higher figures, up to $37 apiece, in smaller deals with other countries.
Now, Moderna “will be looking at more value-based pricing that’s more appropriate for the commercial market,” Garay said. The $64 price point at the low end of Moderna’s range is based on a 2021 analysis by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, she said.
The U.S. last week began a fall booster campaign with about 170 million doses purchased from Pfizer and BioNTech as well as Moderna. The 66 million doses the company supplied could run out within five months, by which time sales will have transitioned to the commercial market, Moderna executive Ruchira Glaser said.
Beyond COVID-19, Moderna is also focused on influenza, with a shot in clinical development that’s expected to produce Phase 3 results in the first quarter of 2023. Moderna estimates the annual worldwide market for flu vaccines could increase beyond the $5 billion to $6 billion in recent years, boosted by newer, more potent shots that cost more than $50 per dose, Garay said.
Correction: A previous version of this story included an incorrect estimate for the current size of the flu vaccine market.