Catalent will continue providing fill/finish services for Moderna for COVID-19 vaccines and beyond, despite falling demand for pandemic-related programs.
The contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) reported $1.15 billion in its Q2 fiscal year 2023 revenues this week, down 6% on the same period last year. The firm’s biologics segment (including cell and gene therapies), which represents 50.5% of total sales, fell 7% year-on-year.
Catalent attributed the decline primarily to lower year-on-year COVID-related demand. “Our revenue guidance assumed an approximate $750 million decline in COVID-related revenues from approximately $1.3 billion in COVID revenue we recorded in fiscal ’22,” CEO Alessandro Maselli said on an investor call.
While the firm is tracking slightly better than previously reported with approximately $450 million in COVID revenue recorded in the first half of its fiscal year, he said “given the expected new seasonality of the product, we expect a minimal revenue contribution from COVID products in Q3, resulting in a decline of COVID-related revenue of nearly $350 million when compared to the third quarter of fiscal ’22, which was our peak COVID quarter.”
However, Catalent’s path beyond the pandemic looks brighter due to the announcement of a contract extension with COVID vaccine pioneer Moderna. The CDMO worked with Moderna “when they were at the very beginning of the journey in 2015-2016,” said Maselli, though were brought on board in June 2020 to provide fill and finish services from its facility in Bloomington, Indiana for the COVID-19 vaccine Spikevax (then known as mRNA-1273).
The extended deal will see Catalent support the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines across its North American and European biologics drug product network.
“We are keeping that network to be in the best position to serve what is going to be a seasonal product going forward,” Maselli said. “On one hand, we can search capacity across our network in multiple sites and, at the same time, maintain a level of efficiency and productivity, which is important to us.”
In addition, there are plans to “extend programs such as flu and RSV vaccines from our manufacturing site in Bloomington, Indiana, as well extending the partnership to support Moderna from our state-of-the-art European facility in Anagni, Italy,” Maselli added. Catalent acquired Anagni rom Bristol Myers Squibb in June 2019 and has since expanded the site.
“We look forward to our strengthened long-term relationship in helping Moderna advance its robust mRNA pipeline.”
Catalent’s earnings call fell days after reports of an alleged acquisition approach by life sciences giant Danaher Corporation. However, no comment was forthcoming from management.
“I want to address the Bloomberg news report that appeared over the weekend, but only to say that as a matter of policy, we do not comment on market rumors,” said Maselli, closing the topic of discussion.