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How Does Moderna Measure up to Bigger Rival Pfizer?

By Adria Cimino - Updated Jun 23, 2021 at 7:45AM

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It's been smooth sailing so far.

Moderna (MRNA -0.37%) and Pfizer (PFE 3.77%) both began commercializing their coronavirus vaccines in December. Together, they've fully vaccinated about 38% of the U.S. population since that time. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on May 28, 2021, healthcare and cannabis bureau editor and analyst Olivia Zitkus and contributor Adria Cimino discuss Moderna's work so far in producing and delivering its vaccine -- and how it compares with its biggest rival.

Olivia Zitkus: I'd love to do a little comparison of Moderna and Pfizer with you. Pfizer has been in the commercial game a lot longer than Moderna. A lot of the conversations comparing the two, and it's difficult to set the two against each other. But how is Moderna shaping up in terms of production capability and speed of distribution too, which has been a big focus compared to Pfizer, which we think of as the big giant?

Adria Cimino: Exactly. They're actually doing very well. They're both aiming to produce about the same number of vaccine doses next year. You could say it's surprising because when you see Moderna where they come from and you see a big company like Pfizer, so that really is impressive. As far as delivering things like that, so far Moderna hasn't had any significant problems. It has 300 million doses to deliver to the U.S. for example, and it has three different deadlines to do that. So far, it's on track for that. The final batch is going to be delivered by the end of July and they are on track for that. I think the only little hiccup I've heard of so far is some deliveries to Canada, a bit lower than expected. I think that things have been going really smoothly, especially considering for Moderna this is really their first time out there. Pfizer hasn't had any major problems. Things have been going smoothly for Pfizer. I'd say overall they are about on par.

Zitkus: That's great. It sounds like you think that based on Moderna's performance so far, that its future as a solo commercial drug company is viable? Is that what you're thinking now?

Cimino: Yes, absolutely. I think that this has been a good test for Moderna especially since this has been in the pandemic setting. They really did have to ramp up quickly, get their processes done, and do all of these things that usually in a typical situation, they wouldn't have to do all of this. It would just be the normal amount of time. They wouldn't be rushed to get it done. The fact that they've been able to do this during a pandemic, and so far not really have many problems and everything has been so smooth from the very start, I think this is really a great sign for them, and for all the other programs in the pipeline. If they can do this during a pandemic, I would think that for the other programs, they can do a really good job too. It's really a reason to be encouraged, it really is.

Adria Cimino has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Olivia Zitkus owns shares of Moderna Inc. The Motley Fool recommends Moderna Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
$171.18 (-0.37%) $0.63
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$50.11 (3.77%) $1.82

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