With the introduction of the mARN vaccine against corona virus, Moderna earned a huge profit after two years of notable success countering COVID-19. From a modest amount of only $800 million in 2020, alone in 2021, the company had supplied more than 800 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, making its revenue rose rapidly to $17.7 billion. In 2022, the number was estimated to be $22 billion. Moderna’s success was mostly due to its strategy of using its large network of CMOs around the world. The ongoing question is whether the company will make any shifts in its strategy in the coming time.
The first approach was to merge and acquisition (M&A). With a deep pocket, Moderna can almost buy any other business. They were in the process of acquiring OriCiro Genomics K.K. (Japan) with a DNA supply chain for US$85 million. That had been the first-ever acquisition by the US company since its launch in 2010.
In an interview with Fierce Biotech, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said that the company’s product pipeline would be better with OriCiro’s technology. This new technology will help the company reduce its reliance on E. coli-based DNA assembly and amplification technology, which usually took several days to complete. OriCiro’s amplification process takes only a few hours, offering the potential to curb production time by up to 30% on a large scale.
In terms of scale, this might not be the biggest deal that everyone had been waiting for, but it was the first sign of what Moderna management had hinted at throughout 2022. Bancel added that the company’s board of directors has “never been that busy” with M&A options. Throughout 2022, Bancel said he has focused on deals that could complement Moderna’s core genetics technology, not “do a big deal for the sake of doing a big deal.”
In addition to focusing on mergers and acquisitions, the company is also very confident in its strategy for technology transfer. Recently, a combination of Moderna’s cancer immunotherapy and Merck’s Keytruda passed clinical trial phase II, improving recurrence-free survival in patients with melanoma compared to only Keytruda intervention. In this deal, Merck contributed $250 million to Moderna.
A group of scientists, including Dr. Stéphane Bancel, who serves as its CEO, founded Moderna in 2010. At first, the company focused on making mRNA therapies for cancer, heart disease, and rare genetic disorders, among others. In early 2020, Moderna began to work with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a COVID-19 vaccine using mRNA technology.
Apart from the COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna is also working on other diseases such as cancer, and already had established several candidates in various stages of clinical development. The company said it wanted to make more COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and was looking into how mRNA technology could be used in other ways.
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