Novavax slashed in half its revenue forecast for the year on Monday, saying demand for its COVID-19 vaccine has weakened so much it does not expect any new revenue from the U.S. or elsewhere for the rest of 2022.
The Maryland-based drugmaker said it expects 2022 revenues of between $2 billion to $2.3 billion, less than half the $4 billion to $5 billion it previously anticipated. Vaccine sales fell to $55 million between April and June compared to $586 million in the first quarter, swinging the company to a loss of $510 million three months after it recorded $203 million in profit.
Novavax believed its shot could overcome its latecomer status as the fourth available COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. by appealing to people hesitant to take shots that rely on messenger RNA technology. Novavax’s vaccine uses an older, protein-based approach.
But demand has so far failed to appear. Just 7,381 doses of Novavax’s shot had been administered in the U.S. through last week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccine is only authorized for unvaccinated adults, limiting its availability to a small fraction of the overall population at a time when demand has shifted to booster shots and filling immunization gaps in adolescents and younger children.
“In the case of the U.S., I believe we were late to the market, and U.S. vaccination was driven by what was available and shown to work, mRNA vaccines,” Novavax CEO Stan Erck said on an earnings call Monday.
A surge in global supply and distribution challenges led the company to zero out forecasted 2022 sales to the international vaccine consortium COVAX.
The company has shared data with U.S. regulators on an updated vaccine tailored to the omicron variant but has made little progress in securing contracts for the country’s planned fall booster campaign.
“It’s all up in the air. This is August,” Erck said. “It’s something that one would hope would be [resolved] by now, but it’s not.”
Sales in Europe were slowed by distribution delays that held up more than $400 million in vaccine deliveries, which were finally completed in July. EU regulators last month placed a warning for a rare allergic reaction to the shot’s prescribing information, adding to a warning from the Food and Drug Administration about an uncommon type of heart inflammation.
In the EU, 250,091 doses were administered through July 21.
Shares in Novavax fell by as much as a third in morning trading Tuesday and are down by around one-half from a month ago.