Moderna leads development of mRNA vaccines in infectious diseases

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Moderna mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine

The global messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine market currently consists entirely of vaccines for COVID-19.

The rapid sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome and the subsequent development of mRNA vaccines in response to the pandemic led to the authorization of the first of these vaccines in December 2020.

However, several pharmaceutical companies have mRNA vaccines in late-stage development for other infectious diseases, with Moderna dominating in terms of research and development (R&D) investment in mRNA vaccines, says data and analytics firm GlobalData.

The company reveals that several late-stage pipeline products are in development for various infectious diseases, such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and cytomegalovirus, as well as for COVID-19.

Barbora Salcman, infectious disease analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Most of the current late-stage COVID-19 pipeline is focused on developing boosters against emerging COVID-19 variants in the global context. However, in the upcoming years, approval of mRNA vaccines is expected for other infectious diseases, especially influenza, where there are currently 11 different pipeline products in phase 2 or 3 clinical trials.”

Moderna has phase 3 pipeline candidates in four different indications (COVID-19, influenza, RSV, and cytomegalovirus) and is also developing a phase 3 combination vaccine against COVID-19 and influenza.

The company also possesses various unique mRNA vaccine candidates in phase 2 development.

These include candidates for Zika virus, Mpox, and herpes, as well as the bacterial infection Lyme disease, with Moderna being the only company in the late-stage pipeline that is targeting mRNA vaccines against bacterial pathogens.

Salcman continues: “Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax (elasomeran), is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a safe and effective vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age and above.

“Although Spikevax sales are projected to decline sharply from 2023 onwards, as the company has stakes in many different pipeline agents, it will remain a major player in the mRNA vaccines market in the coming years.”

Despite the success of mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, key opinion leaders interviewed by GlobalData expect the commercial performance of mRNA vaccines outside this field to vary greatly by indication, depending on the current competition and unmet needs within the space.

Salcman concludes: “mRNA vaccines may face tough competition in indications such as influenza, as the current flu vaccines available on the market are safe, reliable, and hold a strong position within the market itself. However, on the other hand, indications such as cytomegalovirus may greatly benefit from the approval of mRNA vaccines, protecting immunocompromised patients from the infection, especially as there isn’t any approved vaccine available.”

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