Oct 5, 2023 - Health

Moderna moving to late-stage trial on COVID-flu combo vaccine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Moderna said Wednesday it plans to begin a late-stage trial on a combination COVID-flu vaccine later this year in adults 50 years old and above, with an eye toward regulatory approval in 2025.

Why it matters: A combined shot could simplify immunizations while simultaneously fighting two respiratory diseases that require repeated vaccinations.

Driving the news: The drugmaker said preliminary trials showed its mRNA-1083 combination vaccine yielded antibody levels in the blood similar to or greater than a standard dose influenza vaccine and the company's Spikevax COVID-19 shot.

  • No new safety concerns were identified compared to the standalone vaccines.

By the numbers: Moderna estimated that 50 million to 100 million doses of COVID vaccines will be administered in the U.S. this fall depending on immunization rates and that over time, the COVID market will approach the influenza market in the U.S.

  • Around 500 million to 600 million doses of the flu shot are administered worldwide each year, with approximately 150 million doses given in the U.S.

What they're saying: "Combination vaccines offer an important opportunity to improve consumer and provider experience, increase compliance with public health recommendations and deliver value for healthcare systems," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.

  • "We are excited to move combination respiratory vaccines into Phase 3 development and look forward to partnering with public health officials to address the significant seasonal threat posed to people by these viruses," he said.

Don't forget: Pfizer and BioNTech late last year launched a trial on their own COVID-flu combination vaccine, and Novavax also has an investigational shot.

  • Moderna previously said that it expects respiratory product sales by 2027 to be in the range of $8 billion to $15 billion, with an operating profit between $4 billion to $9 billion.
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