By Michael Erman and Bhanvi Satija
(Reuters) -Moderna on Monday said its 2023 COVID vaccine sales would be around $6.7 billion, coming in above the lower end of its full-year forecast, and reiterated its goal of returning to sales growth in 2025.
Shares of the vaccine maker were up 2.3% in early afternoon trading.
Weak overall sales of the vaccine have weighed on the stock’s performance, dragging it down over 40% in the last year.
Still, the company shares have performed better in recent months and are trading at around $114, up more than 60% from recent lows of around $70 a share last November. Moderna had said then that it would only hit the lower end of its previous forecast range of $6 billion to $8 billion.
The $6.7 billion prelim sales figure includes about $600 million of deferred revenue related to Moderna’s efforts with the global vaccine alliance GAVI.
Demand for COVID vaccines has fallen sharply since 2021, when the shots first became available.
The company has said revenue will drop to around $4 billion this year, mostly due to the end of advance purchase agreements with buyers overseas.
“The U.S. we believe will be relatively flattish year over year” for uptake of COVID shots in 2024, Chief Financial Officer Jamey Mock said in an interview.
Moderna gained market share in the U.S. COVID-19 market from rival Pfizer, increasing its hold to 48% in the 2023 fall season from 37% share in 2022.
Mock said the company’s relationships with pharmacies have really driven its success in building market share this year.
“We’ve gone right to the source – the big pharmacies and small pharmacies – and made sure that we answered and met their needs,” Mock said.
The company reaffirmed its goal to break even in 2026.
Regulatory approvals for its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shot are expected in the first half of this year. Moderna also expects to report late-stage data from its next-generation COVID shot and a combination flu/COVID shot in 2024.
The vaccine maker intends to seek regulatory approvals in 2024 for its seasonal flu shot, which generated a stronger immune response against all four A and B strains of the virus compared with traditional flu shots in a late-stage trial.
(Reporting by Michael Erman in New Jersey and Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Aurora Ellis)