Moderna is expected to achieve the lower end of its sales target for this year as it only needs to cater to a small section of the private market with its COVID-19 vaccine to attain that goal, as per the industry experts.

According to four analysts who spoke with Reuters, it is possible for Moderna to achieve $2 billion in sales from the private market in 2023 if about 20 million people are vaccinated with its updated COVID-19 vaccine.

The company has said it expects total US COVID-19 vaccine demand to be as much as 100 million doses in the fall season.

Moderna predicts $6-8 billion in COVID-19 vaccine sales in 2023, with $2-4 billion coming from the commercial market. Pfizer’s full-year outlook for COVID-19 vaccine sales was lowered by about $2 billion due to lower-than-expected vaccination rates.

Moderna’s shares have fallen by some 22% since its larger rival’s warning.

“It is unlikely Moderna will have a negative fall (in its sales outlook) like Pfizer because they started off much more conservative,” said Oppenheimer & Co analyst Hartaj Singh.

Michael Yee, an analyst from Jefferies, said that while the rollout of the new shots was initially slow, it seems to be picking up, citing recent data. Yee expects most of the demand to come from people aged 65 and over.

Moderna reports third-quarter results on Thursday, two days after Pfizer posted its first quarterly loss since 2019 due to a large charge to account for the US government returning millions of doses of its COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, as well as an inventory of its COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty.

Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, has seen its research and development (R&D) costs increase by 62% to $1.1 billion in Q2 2021, despite the COVID-19 vaccine being its only marketed product, as it aims to introduce other products.

The company’s RSV vaccine, which it aims to launch in the US in 2024, was found to be 82.4% effective in older adults with three or more symptoms in a late-stage trial. It would compete with recently approved vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Data from a late-stage study of Moderna’s flu vaccine with an updated formulation released in September showed it generated a stronger immune response against all four A and B strains of the influenza virus compared to traditional flu shots.

Moderna’s broader mRNA-based respiratory pipeline, which includes RSV and flu vaccines, is expected to reach $10 billion to $12 billion in sales, which will reduce expenses and bring R&D stability by 2025, Yee said.

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