By: Nina Deka, Sr. Research Analyst, ROBO Global
In less than a year, HTEC ETF holding, Moderna developed and launched a vaccine that is expected to generate $16 billion in revenue in 2021, and could potentially be injected into a quarter of the world’s population by the end of 2022. What many people don’t realize about Moderna though is that the COVID vaccine is only one part of a much broader opportunity. We believe that Moderna’s growth path is just getting started, with several near- and long-term factors that could ensure their market and technology leadership for years to come.
Growth Drivers for Moderna:
- Vast global opportunity remains for COVID vaccines like Moderna’s mRNA product.
- In biotech, the approval of a new drug class helps progress other therapies in the same class.
- Moderna has dozens of other mRNA programs that could drive growth for years.
COVID vaccines should drive several more years of revenue.
With their 2021 vaccine supply spoken for (largely by the US), Moderna’s focus for 2022 is on getting the vaccine to the rest of the world. The company expects to ship between 800 million to 1 billion doses by the end of this year, and up to 3 billion in 2022. In addition to growing its global share, the company is working on multiple programs that will further expand the COVID market, such as the teens and children markets, booster shots, vaccines to protect against variants, and combinations thereof. It remains to be seen how frequently a booster will be needed (perhaps every 9–12 months or more), but expect COVID variants will drive demand for these vaccines for at least the next few years.
Beyond COVID, there’s a much broader opportunity for Moderna
The pandemic accelerated the development and launch of the first commercialized mRNA treatments. Now, worldwide acceptance of mRNA as safe and effective has somewhat de-risked the mRNA therapeutic class, and validated platforms like Moderna’s, and the many programs in its pipeline. Prior to COVID-19, Moderna had over 20 other therapies in clinical trials, which should generate a long runway of opportunities for the company. In the near term (6–12 months), the company is expecting data readout from several other non-COVID programs, including a flu vaccine (Phase 1), a personalized cancer vaccine for head and neck cancer (Phase 1), and the CMV vaccine (Phase 3).
mRNA is just the message; LNP is the bottle
Another major industry hurdle that messenger RNA (mRNA) has overcome is the delivery method of the therapy. Moderna has proven that its lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology, which delivers MRNA-1273 into humans, works. Although LNP still has its own challenges, like the requirement to be stored at a very low temperature, MRNA-1273’s success helps de-risk Moderna’s other mRNA therapies that rely on the same LNP technology, such as its personalized cancer vaccine for head and neck cancer.
mRNA is highly scaleable
In terms of manufacturing, the production process for mRNA is very flexible compared with other therapeutic modalities. Moderna has been adding capacity for the COVID vaccine through its own facility as well as through outsourced partners, like Lonza. Once in place, these resources can be easily leveraged to produce other mRNA products at scale. Having these manufacturing capabilities will also help progress the regulatory approval of new products.
All told, with the introduction of mRNA to the world combined with Moderna’s proven technology platform, we expect to see more commercialization of these therapies over the long term. Moderna may be very well positioned to reap the benefits of this trend. The HTEC ETF provides investors with exposure to this and other cutting-edge healthcare technologies across the broader healthcare landscape.