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Moderna makes windfall in Q2CY21 on COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, will the jab come to India?

On the capacity front in 2021, Moderna expects to produce 800 million to 1 billion doses, and 2022 it plans to triple that capacity.

August 06, 2021 / 07:03 PM IST
US vaccine maker Moderna exceeded Wall Street's expectations reaping windfall in the second quarter ended June 31.

US vaccine maker Moderna exceeded Wall Street's expectations reaping windfall in the second quarter ended June 31.

US vaccine maker Moderna exceeded Wall Street's expectations reaping windfall in the second quarter ended June 31. The biotech's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine has been money spinner raking in a net income (net profit) of Rs $2.8 billion against sales of $4.4 billion in Q2CY2021. During the same period in the previous year, Moderna reported net loss of $117 million, against revenues of $67 million.

Moderna's existing advance purchase agreements (APAs) for supplying the vaccines are expected to generate about $20 billion in the calendar year 2021, including $6.3 billion sales already recorded in the six months ended June 30, 2021. In 2022, the company has already signed APAs for product sales of approximately $12 billion and options of approximately $8 billion. Numerous additional negotiations are still ongoing for 2022 APAs. The company said it has also started to sign APAs for 2023 as forward-looking countries prepare for the endemic phase of COVID-19​.

On the capacity front, Moderna expects to produce 800 million to 1 billion doses in 2021, and in 2022, it plans to triple that capacity.

Money spinner

Incidentally, the cost of sales as a percentage of product sales is expected to be between just 18-20 percent for the fiscal year 2021. The research and development expenses were $822 million for the six months ended June 30, 2021, compared to $267 million for the same period in 2020.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Moderna is also hard-selling its upcoming booster dose, which is expected to work against variants of concern, including the globally dominant Delta variant.

Will Moderna come to India?

Moderna forecast doesn't include any orders from India, the world's second population.

India drug regulator issued a registration certificate and permission to import the COVID-19 vaccine of Moderna for restricted use in an emergency situation, in adults aged 18 years and older.

Cipla in earnings call on August 5 said it was supporting Moderna with the regulatory approval and importation of vaccines to be donated to India by the US government. It further added it doesn't have a commercial pact with the US vaccine maker. But the US vaccine supplies didn't materialise as indemnity or legal protection against any product liability claims arising out of unexpected serious adverse events has emerged as a sticky issue for India to get its share of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX and US government bilateral donations.

Moderna along with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are insisting on the indemnity to supply vaccines to India.

The government said the talks are still on for the import of anti-COVID-19 shots.

An email sent to Moderna didn't elicit a response at the time of publishing the story.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Aug 6, 2021 06:44 pm
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