Moderna (MRNA) Q1 2023 results

Moderna’s sign is seen outside their corporate headquarters in Cambridge, MA on March 11, 2021.

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Moderna beat first-quarter earnings and revenue estimates on Thursday, posting a surprise quarterly profit, despite falling demand for Covid vaccines, its only marketable product.

The biotech company generated $1.9 billion in revenue in the first quarter, driven by Covid revenue carried over from 2022. That’s down more than 30% from the 6.1 billion it recorded in the same period a year ago amid a resurgence in Covid cases.

Moderna reported net income of $79 million, or 19 cents per share, for the quarter. That compares with net income of $3.66 billion, or $8.58 per share, recorded in the same quarter last year.

Here’s what Moderna reported against Wall Street expectations, based on a Refinitiv analyst survey:

  • Earnings per share: 19 cents per share vs. $1.77 loss per share expected
  • Income: $1.86 billion vs $1.18 billion expected

Still, shares of the Massachusetts-based company fell slightly in premarket trading on Thursday. Shares are down more than 27% for the year through Wednesday’s close, bringing the company’s market value to around $50 billion.

Moderna maintained its full-year guidance of about $5 billion in revenue from its Covid vaccine, which will come from government contracts signed for the vaccine.

CEO Stephane Bancel said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he believes the company is “on track to meet” that goal.

The company also has discussions on new contracts with customers in Europe, Japan and the United States. Bancel noted that the company was in active discussions with US government agencies, drugstore chains and hospital chains about new contracts.

The company is set to roll out a new set of boosters after the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month authorized additional vaccines targeting the omicron variant for the elderly and people with impaired immune is weakened.

But demand for Covid vaccines continues to decline as the pandemic subsides and the United States moves to an annual vaccination schedule rather than repeated booster doses. That left Moderna and rival drugmaker Pfizer scrambling to get away from their Covid jabs, which made household names for both companies at the height of the pandemic.

“It will be a year of transition,” Bancel told CNBC. He added that Moderna is “aggressively investing to grow the business.”

This means strengthening Moderna’s mRNA drug pipeline.

The company’s products use messenger RNA technology, which teaches human cells to produce a protein that initiates an immune response against a certain disease.

Moderna said in April it hoped to deliver a new set of life-saving vaccines targeting cancer, heart disease and other conditions by 2030.

This line includes Moderna’s experimental vaccine that targets respiratory syncytial virus. The company expects to file for full plan approval for adults 60 and older this quarter.

It also includes Moderna’s Personalized Cancer Vaccine, a highly anticipated mRNA injection being co-developed with Merck to target different tumor types. Moderna is also developing a flu vaccine, but the company said the vaccine did not meet the criteria for early success in a late-stage clinical trial.

Moderna will hold an earnings call at 8:00 a.m. ET.

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