Moderna pursues “Superjab” for all main respiratory viruses as pandemic pivot continues

By Peter Milios | More Articles by Peter Milios

Moderna is setting its sights on a groundbreaking "superjab" that could protect against the most prevalent respiratory viruses, including Covid-19, influenza (flu), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

As the Covid-19 pandemic gradually subsides, Moderna is repositioning its business strategy to address the ongoing threat of respiratory illnesses.

While Covid-19 thrust Moderna and its mRNA vaccine technology into the global spotlight, the decline in demand for Covid-19 vaccines has led the company to reassess its future revenue prospects.

This year, it estimates vaccine sales for Covid-19 to be around $5 billion compared to an impressive $18.4 billion in 2022, as governments reduce their orders.

Arpa Garay, Chief Commercial Officer of Moderna, is spearheading the effort to identify new avenues for the company's success. She emphasises that Covid-19 vaccines will remain an integral part of Moderna's portfolio, but the company is also looking ahead to the broader landscape of respiratory diseases.

In a significant move, Moderna has partnered with the Australian government in a ten-year agreement to manufacture mRNA vaccines in Melbourne, ensuring preparedness for future pandemics, regardless of the pathogen involved.

"While the pandemic might be easing, Covid-19 remains a significant public health threat," said Garay during her visit to Australia from her base in Boston.

She points out that Covid-19 continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States, underscoring the importance of ongoing efforts to combat the virus. In this context, Garay emphasises the company's commitment to collaborating with governments, stakeholders, and consumer education to raise awareness about the persistent risk posed by Covid-19 even after the pandemic phase.

However, Moderna's vision extends beyond Covid-19 alone. The company is developing a combination vaccine that includes protection against both influenza and Covid-19, with plans to incorporate an RSV shot to create the ultimate "superjab." This one-shot solution is poised to become a crucial player in combating various respiratory illnesses, especially as vaccine fatigue and hesitancy have become concerns.

Moderna acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead, as the development of vaccines for respiratory diseases involves complexities beyond Covid-19. While their flu vaccine has shown promising immune response results against A strains, it has not yet demonstrated comparable efficacy for B strains when compared to existing approved vaccines. Nonetheless, Moderna's mRNA technology allows for swift modifications, providing a key advantage in adapting to new strains.

A study commissioned by Moderna indicates that the flu has surpassed Covid-19 as Australians' top health concern, underscoring the pressing need for effective seasonal jabs. To address this demand, the company aims to simplify the vaccination process and make it more convenient for the public. The "superjab" could offer a practical solution, combining vaccines against multiple respiratory viruses in one shot.

While the "superjab" represents a significant milestone for Moderna, the company remains focused on its continued pursuit of medical breakthroughs. It has already received priority review status from the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia for its RSV vaccine, a testament to Moderna's dedication to tackling respiratory illnesses head-on.

As the pandemic pivot continues, Moderna seeks to redefine the future of preventive medicine, ushering in a new era of comprehensive protection against respiratory viruses. The company's efforts are closely monitored by the global healthcare community, as its innovations have the potential to transform public health protection on a global scale.

About Peter Milios

Peter Milios is a recent graduate from the University of Technology - majoring in Finance and Accounting. Peter is currently working under equity research analyst Di Brookman for Corporate Connect Research.

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