Moderna Vaccine ‘Hits the Mark’ as Street Sees a Blockbuster
(Bloomberg) -- Moderna Inc. got a new Wall Street-high price target from Goldman Sachs as its shares traded at a record after the biotech company revealed positive early results from its experimental vaccine for Covid-19.
An initial look at mRNA-1273, as the inoculation is known, “hits the mark,” analyst Salveen Richter said, raising her price target to $105 from $63, or 27% above the prior Street high of $83. Richter rates Moderna a buy. Piper Sandler analysts soon followed raising their price target to $102 from $57 saying Moderna could have “potential blockbuster vaccine sales next year.”
The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index rose as much as 2.8% and is on track to close at a record high after Moderna’s test results. Moderna shares rose as much as 30%. The entire U.S. stock market rose as the first look at a potential vaccine for the disease responsible for the pandemic kindles hope for an end to the shutdowns hobbling economic growth across the globe.
Investors are excited “the vaccine was able to elicit an antibody response at just two weeks post-dose,” Richter wrote in a client note. She was also positive on the activity seen in lower doses, which should bode well for Moderna’s ability to extend its capacity to provide more vaccine. Moderna is now seen having a 75% chance of success, whereas Goldman had previously modeled 70% odds.
Goldman was the lead manager on Moderna’s most recent stock offering in mid-February, which raised cash at $19 a share. The stock has surged nearly four-fold since then. Only one of 12 analysts tracked by Bloomberg rates Moderna a hold, while the rest rate it the equivalent of a buy.
Piper Sandler’s Edward Tenthoff said mRNA-1273 could be a $10 billion a year drug if approved. Former GlaxoSmithKline Plc executive Moncef Slaoui, who is set to become the chief scientist for Operation Warp Speed and is on Moderna’s board, has said that getting a vaccine by January is a “credible objective.”
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