The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent rollout of vaccines for the virus have been a financial goldmine for some major players in the pharmaceutical industry, including Moderna.
Stephane Bancel, CEO of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, said on an earnings call Thursday morning that it expects to bring in upwards of $19 billion in revenue this year off of sales of its COVID-19 vaccine alone.
The company produces the second most popular Covid vaccine in America, having been administered over 200 million times to fully vaccinate 75 million people.
More revenue streams are expected to come in the future as well, with an Omicron specific booster potentially being released in the coming weeks and Bancel told CNBC’s Squawk Box that even more booster shots may be needed this fall.
Moderna projects $19 billion in revenue this year from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine alone. The company believes more shots will be needed this fall, and plans to rollout an Omicron-specific jab
Stephane Bancel (pictured), CEO of Moderna, said he expects the virus to transition from a pandemic to an endemic in the near future
The new projections announced Thursday are a $2 billion increase from figures reported by the company earlier this year.
Like other experts, Bancel expects Covid to transform away from a pandemic and into an endemic phase at some point this year.
‘We believe there’s a high probability that we’re moving into an endemic setting,’ Bancel said.
‘We should still be cautious because as we’ve seen with delta, which came after alpha and was more virulent, [it] is always possible to get the more virulent variant of course.’
Keeping the virus under control will likely require regular, potentially annual booster shots, similar to a yearly flu shot many Americans already receive.
Bancel believes the next available Covid shot could become available during the fall, but said the U.S. government has not yet ordered a purchase of more jabs.
Moderna is also currently in Phase 2 of trials for its Omicron-tailored Covid jab. It is reportedly aiming to have the shot available to Americans late last month.
There may not be much uptake for the shot once it does come out, though, as Covid cases have cratered in recent weeks.
The nation is averaging under 80,000 Covid cases a day, a 40 percent drop over the past week and a 90 percent drop from the virus’s peak in mid-January.
A fourth shot will likely be needed for Americans at some point, though. mRNA vaccines are very effective at preventing serious Covid infection, but efficacy wanes in a matter of months.
It is almost a guarantee that Americans that have already received Covid boosters will need a fourth shot at some point this year. Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla – a direct competitor to Moderna – have both said a fourth dose is on the way for months.
Moderna is also planning on combining its Covid shot with a flu and RSV vaccine to create one, universal, jab a person has to receive every year to protect from all common viral infections.
Earlier this week, the company announced that it had begun Phase 3 of trials for its RSV vaccine.
The company also hopes to expand eligibility of its Covid vaccine, which would boost its revenue as well.
Moderna’s shot is currently only available to Americans aged 18 and older, while Pfizer’s shot is authorized for children as young as five.
The company is gathering data for its shot in children as young as five, and is currently requesting the FDA to authorize the shot for those aged 12 to 17.
Regulators, not just in America but around the world, have concerns about the shot in younger people, though.
While Moderna’s shot is safe and effective, young men under the age of 30 are at an increased risk of developing myocarditis from the shot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a warning about mRNA shots in young people, and some Nordic nations like Sweden and Norway have restricted use of the Moderna shots in people under 30.