(Reuters) -Moderna Inc on Wednesday posted nearly $6 billion in sales of its COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter, and said it expects sales to be higher in the second half of the year than in the first six months.
The company’s shares rose 5.4% to $154.50 before the opening bell, even as it maintained its full-year sales forecast for the vaccine at $21 billion.
Moderna’s vaccine is based on messenger RNA (mRNA), the same technology that is also used by rival Pfizer, and recently gained authorization for a second booster dose in the United States.
Pfizer on Tuesday also kept its annual forecast for vaccine sales unchanged as cases drop and sales start to ease from their 2021 highs.
Moderna’s COVID shot has propelled it from a developer of experimental vaccine technology with no approved products to a vaccine maker with billions of dollars in sales.
Sales of its vaccine rose to $5.9 billion in the first quarter from $1.7 billion a year ago.
The company said it expected to test a booster shot to target the Omicron variant, plus the original coronavirus, in a late-stage trial in the second quarter.
Investors and analysts have questioned whether vaccine sales are durable as an increasing number of people globally receive a complete vaccination course, countries relax their pandemic curbs and the need for annual booster shots remains unclear.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)