Moderna (MRNA) - Get Moderna Inc. Report posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Thursday, and boosted its full-year vaccine sales forecast, but shares extended declines amid a revenue miss and concerns linked to the Biden administration's support for vaccine patent waivers.
Moderna posted diluted GAAP earnings of $2.84 per share, up from a 35 cents per share loss and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $2.39 per share. Group revenues, however, missed analysts' estimates even though the total came in at $1.9 billion, thanks largely to around $1.7 billion in coronavirus vaccine sales.
Moderna said it sees full-year vaccine sales of around $19.2 billion, based on signed contracts, a figure that doesn't appear to be affected by any decision on patent waivers that may come later this quarter from the World Trade Organization.
"In the first quarter, the Moderna team delivered on its supply commitments to many governments and helped protect more than 100 million people," said CEO Stéphane Bancel. "This accomplishment translated into our first profitable quarter in the company’s history, after 10 years of scientific innovation and several billion dollars invested to make our mRNA platform a reality.”
“Based on these first quarter accomplishments and our current manufacturing scale-up trajectory, we were pleased to again increase our base plan for 2021 to 800 million doses. The Moderna team and our manufacturing partners are working hard to get as close to 1 billion doses in 2021 as we can," he added. "The feedback from governments around the world requesting high-efficacy mRNA vaccines and variant boosters is overwhelming. We are now actively engaged in discussions and agreements for 2022 with all of the governments we are currently supplying for 2021."
Moderna shares were marked 8.3% lower in early trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $149.20 each.
Late Wednesday, President Joe Biden, who had earlier rejected calls to waive intellectual property rights on vaccine patents for fear of stiffing innovation, reversed course late Wednesday and agreed to take the issue to the Word Trade Organization as calls grow to fight a wave of new infections -- and variant developments -- in India and South America.
"This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures," said U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. "The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines."