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AZ sells stake in Moderna for around $1.2bn

As Moderna expects COVID-19 vaccine sales to reach $18.4bn this year

AstraZeneca (AZ) has reportedly sold its stake in COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna for around $1.2bn, according to The Times.

The British drugmaker has sold off its 7.7% stake in Moderna, with the cash from the sale thought to amount to around $1.2bn.

Moderna is expecting sales from its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine to reach $18.4bn this year, with the company saying this figure could even be exceeded as it is in discussions with several governments for further supply deals.

The Moderna vaccine was among the first to receive regulatory approval, with the jab gaining its first authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020.

The Moderna vaccine then gained approval from the EU and the UK in 2021.

Last week, the company announced that it will make new investments to increase global manufacturing capacity for the vaccine at its own and partnered manufacturing facilities.

Moderna expects this to increase global capacity in 2022 to approximately 1.4 billion doses of the vaccine, reflecting an assumption of a 100 μg dose.

The base plan for 2021 manufacturing has also been increased from 600 million doses to 700 million doses globally.

The Massachusetts, US-based company was first listed on Nasdaq in 2018 at $23 per share, surging in value in 2020 after it started developing its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

According to The Guardian, Moderna’s share price increased from around $19 to $155 in 2020, reflecting a total company value of approximately $60bn.

In 2013, AZ invested $240m in Moderna, signing an alliance at the time to discover mRNA therapeutics for cardiometabolic disease and selected oncology targets.

In AZ’s full-year results, the company reported $1.38bn in equity portfolio sales last year, ‘a large proportion of which related to the disposal of its full holding in Moderna Therapeutics’.

AZ is looking to close its proposed acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, announced last year, in the third quarter of 2021.

The cash from the sale of its Moderna stake will help AZ to achieve this goal, bolstering the company’s own pipeline of investigational products.

AZ’s COVID-19 vaccine, developed with Oxford University, has received approval in the UK and the EU, and also has an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Article by
Lucy Parsons

2nd March 2021

From: Sales

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