Moderna says early information reveals Covid vaccine is 96% efficient in teenagers

A nurse draws a vaccine for Moderna Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on March 5, 2021 at the East Valley Community Health Center in La Puente, California.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Moderna said Thursday its Covid-19 vaccine is 96% effective in children ages 12-17. This is evident from early data released with the company’s first quarter results.

The fledgling biotech also plans to submit data on its adult vaccine for full approval to the FDA later this month. The sale of its successful Covid-19 vaccine contributed to Moderna’s first quarter profit.

According to Refinitiv’s average estimates, Moderna has fared compared to Wall Street expectations as follows:

  • EPS: $ 2.84 per share versus $ 2.39 per share expected
  • Revenue: $ 1.94 billion versus $ 2.03 billion expected

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine had sales of $ 1.7 billion, according to earnings report.

The company’s shares fell more than 5% on Thursday morning. Covid vaccine maker stocks fell after the Biden government announced late Wednesday that it would waive patent protection for Covid vaccines, citing the global health crisis.

Moderna raised its 2021 sales forecast for its vaccine from its previous forecast of $ 18.4 billion to $ 19.2 billion. Earlier this week, rival Pfizer also raised its vaccine sales forecast, forecasting total annual sales of $ 26 billion.

Research and development costs were $ 401 million for the quarter, compared to $ 115 million for the same period last year, according to Moderna.

“In the first quarter, the Moderna team met its delivery commitments to many governments and helped protect more than 100 million people,” said CEO Stephane Bancel in a press release. “This achievement led to our first profitable quarter in the company’s history after 10 years of scientific innovation and billions of dollars invested to make our mRNA platform a reality.”

Moderna, which was founded in 2010, was the second company after Pfizer to receive US approval for its Covid vaccine. A contract for 300 million doses was signed with the US government, which is enough to vaccinate 150 million Americans, since the vaccine requires two doses four weeks apart.

Bancel said Thursday the company is “actively involved” in discussions and agreements for 2022 with all governments it currently supplies.

On Wednesday, the company announced that a booster shot of its vaccine triggered a promising immune response against variants B.1.351 and P.1, first identified in South Africa and Brazil. The data are preliminary and have not yet been reviewed by experts.

“Worldwide there are always new worrying variants. And we believe that in the next six months, when the southern hemisphere enters autumn and winter, more worrying variants could emerge,” Bancel told analysts on a profit call. “We believe booster vaccinations will be needed as we believe the virus will not go away.”

The company said its booster shot, given to previously vaccinated adults, increased neutralizing antibody responses against the original strain, as well as against variants B.1.351 and P.1, which scientists say are more contagious than the original Covid- 19 trunk.

According to Moderna, the original teenage vaccine was generally well tolerated with no serious safety concerns identified. The study enrolled more than 3,000 participants, ages 12 to 17 years old.

The new data came as drug makers and scientists said people will likely need a booster shot of Covid-19 vaccines and possibly additional shots each year, just like they did with seasonal flu.

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Correction: This article has been updated to correct the company’s founding year, which is 2010.

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