Moderna Banks on COVID-19, RSV Vaccines

Moderna plans to submit to the FDA its investigational mRNA vaccine, RNA-1345, for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the first half of 2023.

After a profitable 2022 with its COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna plans to hike the vaccine’s price when it is available on the open market. Meanwhile, the company is focusing on obtaining approval for its investigational RSV vaccine and is developing combination COVID-19/influenza and influenza/RSV vaccines.

Moderna plans to charge between $110 and $130 per dose for its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, the company’s chief executive officer, Stéphane Bancel recently told The Wall Street Journal. The price increase would go into effect when the government’s current supply of Moderna Covid-19 vaccines gets used up or expires, per Forbes.

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) said the potential price hike is “outrageous,” and asked Bancel in a letter to “reconsider your decision and refrain from any further price increases.” He warned that millions of Americans may not be able to afford the vaccines at the new cost.

Moderna did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Pfizer and Moderna estimated that the anticipated commercial price per dose of their vaccines would likely be between $82 and $130 per dose — roughly three to four times what the federal government has paid, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Related: KFF: COVID-19 Vaccine Costs to Rise if Federal Purchasing Ends

To date, the federal government has spent more than $30 billion on COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that the public can access them at no charge, KFF found. If the federal government stops covering the costs of the vaccinations, the total cost for purchasing booster shots commercially would be between $6.2 billion and $29.7 billion annually.

These costs are likely to be covered by both public and private vaccine payers, and could lead to premium increases, finds KFF.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine sales netted about $18.4 billion in 2022, the company said. The company is expecting a minimum of $5 billion in COVID-19 vaccines sales in 2023 from advance purchase agreements and 2022 contract deferrals. The pharma maker also has potential additional contracts in the United States, Europe, Japan, and other key markets.

Moderna is also banking on the success of its investigational mRNA vaccine, RNA-1345, for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The pharma maker plans to submit for regulatory approval in the first half of 2023 after announcing positive topline data from its ConquerRSV phase 3 pivotal efficacy trial demonstrating vaccine efficacy of 83.7% against RSV-associated lower respiratory tract disease.

The results “represent an important step forward in preventing lower respiratory disease due to RSV in adults 60 years of age and older,” Bancel said in a press release. “Respiratory diseases are a major public health priority given they have a significant health impact and are a leading cause of hospitalization.”

Additionally, Moderna is working on COVID-19/influenza and influenza/RSV vaccine combinations “because nobody really likes needles too much,” Bancel said at the 41st Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. “When we talk to payers, we are very worried as we get into a COVID plus flu and sooner flu plus RSV is how we will ensure compliance. Because what they want is, if those vaccine exists, they want people to use them, especially people at high risk that might end up in hospitals,” Bancel noted. “And so, through the discussions we're having with payers…we believe that there is a very, very important demand out there for combinatory vaccines.”