By Patrick Wingrove
Nov 2 (Reuters) - Moderna MRNA.O on Thursday said it expected 2023 revenue of at least $6 billion, tempering its forecast to reflect weaker demand for COVID-19 vaccines, but added it would return to sales growth in 2025 and break even the following year.
The company reported third-quarter sales of $1.8 billion, topping analysts' estimates of $1.32 billion, according to LSEG data. Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is its lone marketed product.
Some $900 million of its quarterly revenue came from the U.S. and $800 million from international sales.
Moderna said the $6 billion 2023 revenue forecast was based on the expectation that at least 50 million COVID-19 vaccines would be administered in the United States. This was at the lower end of its earlier forecast of $6 billion to $8 billion.
The company's shares were down nearly 1% in choppy premarket trade.
So far, more than 15 million people in the U.S. have received an updated COVID-19 shot, including Pfizer's PFE.N rival vaccine, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, compared to around 23 million by this time in last year’s campaign, which started 10 days earlier.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said it expected $4 billion in revenue next year from sales of its COVID-19 shot, called Spikevax, and its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, which is not yet approved but expected to launch in 2024 based on positive data from a late-stage trial.
Analysts estimate over $100 million in sales for each of Moderna's new vaccines against RSV and flu, which also has yet to be approved, in 2024, according to LSEG data.
Moderna’s 2025 sales growth expectation is based on anticipated revenue from those shots, as well as from its forthcoming combination COVID-flu vaccine, Chief Financial Officer Jamey Mock said in an interview.
“We believe 2024 is the low point, and we laid out some of the pieces to that. We’re going to launch two or three new products on top of that in 2025, and have RSV out in 2024, and it'll continue to grow thereafter,” he said.
The vaccine maker said it had also improved future cost of sales by downsizing its external manufacturing capacity, but that the restructure contributed to a third-quarter net loss of $3.6 billion, driven mostly by non-cash charges of $3.1 billion related to the resizing and tax valuation allowances.
Spikevax's U.S. market share increased to 45% from 36% in 2022, according to Moderna.
Wall Street has been skeptical on the overall uptake of COVID-19 vaccines this fall and of Moderna’s ability to hit its minimum $2 billion sales forecast for the commercial market, Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a recent note.
Yee said he expected the number of COVID shots administered in the U.S. would hit 35 million to 40 million rather than the minimum of 50 million doses forecast by Moderna.
(Reporting by Patrick Wingrove in New York and Leroy Leo in Bengaluru Editing by Bill Berkrot)
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