💉 Can Moderna Keep Up With Pfizer’s Juggernaut?
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💉 Moderna: Left Behind?
Shares of Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna (MRNA) tanked on Thursday and Friday after the company missed earnings estimates in Q3. It also expects to sell fewer vaccines in future quarters as against projections. The company is clearly losing the vaccine race to arch-rival Pfizer (PFE). (Tweet This)
Q2 results seem like a distant memory! Moderna shareholders were a happy bunch in August. The company was anticipating Covid vaccine sales worth $20B for the full year. It was looking to supply ~1B doses; there was talk of Advanced Purchase Agreements (APAs) being signed until 2023.
It seemed like Pfizer had some tough competition to deal with. A mere three months later, things have nosedived for Moderna, and how! The company not only missed earnings estimates by a huge margin in Q3 but also slashed revenue forecasts from the sale of the vaccine, its only cash cow.
Key Stats From Q3:
Revenue: $4.97B Vs. $6.21B expected
EPS: $7.70 Vs. $9.05 expected
Moderna also revised its full-year vaccine delivery target to ~800M from the earlier projection of ~1B doses. That meant slashing revenue expectations by a whopping $5B. Moderna now expects to earn ~$15B compared to the expected ~$20B. 2022 sales are expected to be ~$20B.
The company is grappling to fill vials and distribute them to meet unprecedented world demand. It has been having trouble ramping up infrastructure to fill up the dosage bottles and delivering them globally.
Moderna’s vaccine requires cold storage facilities that maintain temperatures of ~ minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit has meant additional logistical challenges. This is especially true when shipping the vaccine to low-income countries which lack the necessary cold storage infrastructure.
One Hit Wonder!
In comparison, Pfizer has issued a more bullish stance when it comes to vaccine deliveries. Along with its partner BioNTech, Pfizer expects vaccine sales this year of ~$36B and ~$29B in 2022. Both projections were higher than analyst expectations of $35.44B and $22.15B, respectively. Pfizer's vaccine sales will be ~44% of the total revenue for this year.
Moderna's contract manufacturer Lonza has been trying to ramp up manufacturing. The company has also enlisted Spanish contract drugmaker Rovi to build a new production facility in Granada. Through the Granada facility, the company hopes to cater to its European vaccine supplies.
Moderna's vaccine has also been under scrutiny for the risk of heart inflammation, known as Myocarditis, which has been seen in vaccinated young males. The FDA has said that it will be early 2022 before assessing the vaccine for use in teenagers between 12-17 years of age.
Adding insult to injury, it turns out this Covid vaccine is Moderna's only commercialized product. While vaccines for Covid-19 variants like Beta and Delta are being developed, they are still in development and will take time to be commercialized.
As Moderna was being buffeted from all sides - competition catapulting ahead, vaccine coming under scrutiny, and supply woes - Pfizer has fired another salvo over the weekend, which may sink Moderna's foundering ship even further. Pfizer said that its Covid-19 pill used with an HIV drug cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in high-risk adults who have been exposed to the virus. The news sent stocks of all vaccine makers, including Moderna, lower.
Moderna needs to figure out its game plan very quickly. Otherwise, it'll soon risk being relegated to the annals of modern history!
MRNA ended at $236.99, down 16.56%.
Company Snapshot 📈
MRNA $236.99 -47.03 (16.56%)
Analyst Ratings (17 Analysts) BUY 41% HOLD 30% SELL 29%
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