USA — Moderna, a key player in the biotech industry, has announced significant changes to its commercial organization, marked by the departure of Arpa Garay from her role as Chief Commercial Officer.
The restructuring aligns with Moderna’s ambitious plans to boost sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and introduce a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shot in the coming year. The company is also eyeing multiple product launches starting in 2025.
While Moderna anticipates US$4 billion in revenue from COVID and RSV vaccines in the next year, the company recently adjusted its COVID-19 vaccine revenue forecast for 2023 due to weakening demand.
In stark contrast to Pfizer’s optimistic projection of approximately US$11.5 billion in annual sales from its COVID shot.
The biotech unicorn, initially propelled to fame with the approval of its mRNA vaccine in 2020, has been diversifying its pipeline beyond the pandemic, focusing on infectious disease candidates, cancer vaccines, and combination cancer agents.
In April 2022, Arpa Garay, formerly of Merck, joined Moderna as CCO, reflecting the company’s commitment to transitioning beyond its COVID-centric identity.
However, as Moderna faces changing market dynamics, CEO Stéphane Bancel will now directly oversee sales efforts for the COVID shot and the upcoming RSV vaccine.
President Stephen Hoge will assume responsibility for the pipeline’s commercial strategy and medical affairs following the departure of Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton earlier this year.
Arpa Garay will continue to advise during the transition period, with her departure expected in the coming months.
Moderna’s CEO, Bancel, expressed optimism for the future, emphasizing the company’s clear strategy and a highly productive pipeline, underscored by recent positive results for the mRNA-1083 combination shot against influenza and COVID.
“We…are excited about the year ahead as we focus on driving continued sales in 2024 and 2025,” said Bancel.
He noted that Garay helped establish “a strong commercial foundation,” and stated that Moderna’s “strategy is clear, our pipeline continues to be highly productive, and we will remain focused on execution.”
Moderna is also working on mRNA-based cancer vaccines and therapeutics with Merck, as well as with Immatics and CARsgen Therapeutics.
Her exit from the role comes at a time when the company, which is looking to break even in 2026, is ramping up spending on research and development as weak sales of COVID vaccine weigh on stock performance.
This development comes amidst a broader trend in the industry, as Pfizer, another major COVID player, witnesses its long-term Chief Commercial Officer Angela Hwang deciding to depart after 27 years with the company, including the last five as CCO.