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Moderna Stock Tumbles On Softer Covid Vaccine Sales Forecast, Weakening Q3 Profits

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Moderna cautioned Thursday that $2 billion to $3 billion of its vaccine sales could be pushed into next year amid broader supply chain challenges.

Moderna  (MRNA)  shares slumped lower Thursday after the drugmaker posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings but lowered its near-term forecast for vaccine revenues amid supply-chain bottlenecks that will defer some sales into next year. 

Moderna posted diluted GAAP earnings of $2.53 per share for the three months ending in September, down 67% the same period last year but well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $3.29 per share. Group revenues fell 30% to $3.4 billion, just shy of analysts’ estimates of a $3.53 billion tally. 

Looking into the final months of the year, Moderna said it sees sales of its mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine in the region of $18 billion to $19 billion, down from its prior forecast of $21 billion based on signed contracts, amid broader production challenges that will defer between $2 billion and $3 billion in sales until 2023.  

“With $13.6 billion in product sales through the first three quarters of the year, and advance purchase agreements for anticipated delivery this year now expected to produce around $18 to $19 billion of product sales, we continue to have a strong financial position as we prepare for multiple upcoming global product launches,” said CEO Stéphane Bancel. 

“It has never been clearer that the future of medicine is upon us. As a platform company with scale and resources, Moderna is uniquely positioned to execute on exciting programs in flu, RSV, rare diseases and immuno-oncology, where we have an imminent Phase 2 data read-out,” he added. 

Moderna shares were marked 10.7% lower in pre-market trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate an opening bell price of $132.75 each.

Last month, Moderna said it will pay $250 million to exercise and earlier option with Merck & Co  (MRK)  to allow the collaboration of its new messenger RNA-based vaccine, known as mRNA-4157, to be developed alongside Merck’s blockbuster Keytruda treatment.  

Personalized cancer vaccines, the companies said, are designed to prime the immune system so that a patient can generate a tailored antitumor response to their tumor mutation signature to treat their cancer. The new vaccine, Moderna said, is undergoing mid-stage trials with data expected before the end of the year. 

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