Moderna to Report First Quarterly Loss Since Debuting Covid-19 Vaccine

Close-up of two bottles of Moderna's Spikevax Covid-19 vaccine on a table inside a mobile vaccine station.

Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

Moderna (MRNA), the Massachusetts-based company whose 2019 IPO was the largest-ever for a biotech firm, likely will report its first quarterly loss in two years as demand for Covid-19 vaccines, its only marketable product, dries up.

Key Takeaways

  • Moderna is expected to swing to a loss of $1.64 per share from a net income of $8.58 a share a year ago.
  • Vaccine revenue is expected to decline more than 80% to about $1 billion.
  • The company is hopeful that its pipeline will yield strong results by 2027.

Moderna is expected to report a net loss of $648 million, or $1.64 per share, compared with net income of $3.66 billion, or $8.58 a share, in the year-ago quarter, according to analyst estimates compiled by Visible Alpha. Revenue is expected to fall 80% to $1.2 billion. Moderna reports first-quarter earnings before markets open Thursday.

Investors will be looking to see what is coming next from the company as demand for Covid-19 vaccines moderates.  

“We don’t believe that Moderna or the mRNA platform we are building is a one-trick pony,” CFO James Mock told the Financial Times. “It’s not just a respiratory vaccine business. It’s a latent vaccine business. It’s a personalized cancer vaccine business. It’s a rare disease business.”

Developing those drugs will be expensive. Analysts expect Moderna to report more than $1 billion in research costs in the first quarter, almost double what it spent in the same quarter a year ago.

According to Mock, Moderna is sitting on $18 billion in capital for development costs. It expects to spend between $6 billion and $8 billion of that over the next few years developing influenza, Covid-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines. These jabs, the focus of Moderna's annual Vaccines Day in April, are expected to generate between $8 billion and $15 billion in annual revenue by 2027.

Moderna shares have fallen about 25% since the beginning of the year, underperforming both the S&P 500 (up 9%) and the S&P 500 Health Care Sector (down 1%).

Year to date total return of Moderna stock, the S&P 500, and the S&P 500 Health Care Sector Index (as of May 2, 2023).

The Key Metric

The key metric for Moderna will continue to be Covid-19 vaccine revenue, which has been declining since the fourth quarter of 2021. The company posted $6.93 billion in vaccine revenue in that quarter, compared with a forecast of $1 billion in the most recent quarter. 

Moderna Key Metrics
  Q1 2023 (est.)   Q1 2022  Q1 2021
 Earnings per share ($)  -1.64  8.58  2.84
 Revenue ($B)  1.2  6.1  2
Covid-19 vaccine revenue ($B) 1 5.9 1.7
Source: Visible Alpha
Article Sources
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  1. Visible Alpha. "Financial Data."

  2. The Financial Times. "Moderna tries to show it’s not a ‘one trick pony’."

  3. Moderna. "Moderna Announces Clinical and Program Updates at 4th Vaccines Day."

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