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Moderna's Q1 profit soars as Covid-19 vaccine sales boost revenue

May 5, 2022
healthcare

Moderna reported a 200 per cent surge in its first-quarter net profit, as the US pharmaceutical and biotech company's revenue rose on the back of its Covid-19 vaccine.

The Massachusetts-based company's net income climbed to about $3.7 billion in the three months to the end of March, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Moderna's shares were trading about 1 per cent lower at $145.1 a share at 8.11pm UAE time on Wednesday.

Total revenue reached $6.1bn in the January-March period, a yearly increase of more than 213 per cent. The amount included $5.9bn from sales of the company's Covid-19 vaccine, compared with $1.7bn in the first quarter of 2021.

Moderna said the prevailing market dynamics will result in Covid-19 vaccine sales “slightly larger in the second half of 2022 than in the first half”.

“The Moderna team delivered a strong first-quarter performance and I am thankful for the progress our team continues to make as we advance our pipeline of mRNA medicines. Today, we are reiterating our signed advanced purchase agreements for 2022 of $21bn,” Stephane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, said.

While traditional vaccines give the body a weakened or inactive virus to cause the production of antibodies, mRNA vaccines make cells produce a protein that starts an immune response.

The company spent almost $554m on research and development in the first quarter, an increase of more than 38 per cent on an annual basis, mainly due to increases in “personnel-related costs, clinical trial expenses, technology and facility-related costs, and consulting and outside services”, it said.

Full-year R&D expenses are expected to be approximately $4bn.

Last month, Moderna also submitted a request for an emergency use authorisation in the US for its Covid-19 vaccine for babies aged 6 months to children under 6. Very young children are the only group that are yet to be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine in the US and in most countries — a source of concern for some parents.

In the current quarter ending on June 30, Moderna expects to have four programmes in late-stage phase three studies, including an Omicron-containing bivalent Covid booster candidate, Mr Bancel said.

“Beginning in the fall of 2022, our robust phase-three pipeline could lead to three respiratory commercial launches over the next two to three years … mRNA has changed the future of medicine and I look forward to continuing our impact on human health. This is just the beginning,” he added.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at $19.3bn as of March 31. Meanwhile, the net cash provided by operating activities was $2.8bn for the three months ended on March 31, compared with $3bn for the same period in 2021.

Moderna's earnings per share increased 202 per cent on an annual basis to $8.6 in the first quarter.

The company expects total capital investments for 2022 to hover in the range of $600m to $800m.

Moderna, which did not conduct share repurchases before the fourth quarter of last year, said it spent $623m in the last quarter for repurchases of common stock.

In the last two quarters, the company has repurchased about 7 million shares, reducing the number of common shares outstanding from 405 million to nearly 400 million.

In February, the company approved a share repurchase programme for $3bn to return excess capital to shareholders. The previous programme of $1bn, announced in August, was fully utilised as of January 31, the company said.

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