USA — Moderna Inc. has announced at its vaccine day meeting in Boston that its experimental flu vaccine did not meet the criteria for “early success” in a late-stage trial.

The news caused the company’s shares to fall by 3%. The U.S. biotech company is currently testing its mRNA-based shots for flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as it hopes to offset the expected decline in revenue from its successful COVID-19 vaccine.

 The company expects to have six major vaccines on the market in the next few years, with its COVID-19 shot currently being its only marketed product.

Moderna is testing whether its experimental flu shot, mRNA-1010, is comparable to an approved flu vaccine in preventing the illness.

However, the company has stated that there is not enough available data to determine if the flu vaccine would be successful.

It is also unclear whether the trial will accrue enough information during the current flu season.

Moderna’s decision to continue the trial comes months after data from an earlier trial showed that the shot generated a strong immune response against influenza A strains, but failed to generate a similar response as the approved vaccine for less-prevalent influenza B.

Moderna’s flu vaccine program has been under increasing investor scrutiny as the company’s COVID-19 vaccine sales are expected to decline steeply in the coming years.

Analysts have forecasted 2023 Moderna COVID vaccine sales of around US$7 billion, which is far less than the US$18.4 billion windfall in 2022, due to decreasing demand.

To offset this expected decline in revenue, the company is banking on its respiratory vaccine candidates.

Moderna President Stephen Hoge said in an interview that he expects to start generating revenue from the flu vaccine in 2024, although the amount would depend on the timing of the launch.

The recent update on Moderna’s flu vaccine program removes some near-term optimism around the vaccine, according to Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh.

However, the company’s decision to continue the trial indicates its commitment to finding a solution for the flu, a highly infectious respiratory illness that can cause severe illness and even death.

While Moderna’s flu vaccine program may not have met the criteria for early success, the company’s dedication to finding a solution to combat the flu is a positive development for public health.

Moderna has an extensive pipeline that includes several promising mRNA-based vaccines, including one for cancer and another for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The company has been making strides in the development of its cancer vaccine, which has shown encouraging results in a mid-stage study against melanoma.

Moderna’s mRNA-based cancer vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to target and attack cancer cells.

In a mid-stage study, the vaccine was found to be effective against melanoma, a type of skin cancer. The company is set to present the full data for the vaccine at an upcoming medical conference.

This development is particularly significant as it may pave the way for more effective and targeted cancer treatments, a major goal of cancer research.

In addition to its cancer vaccine, Moderna is also working on a vaccine for RSV, a common respiratory illness that can cause severe symptoms in older adults and young children.

The RSV vaccine was found to be 84% effective in preventing at least two symptoms in older adults. The company expects to launch the RSV vaccine next year, with plans to develop and seek approval for several more vaccines in the coming years.

The development of Moderna’s RSV vaccine is particularly significant given the lack of effective treatments for the virus.

While there are a few available treatments, including antiviral medications, they are limited in their effectiveness and are not always accessible to all patients.

The development of a safe and effective vaccine for RSV could provide a much-needed solution for individuals at risk of severe symptoms.

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