Moderna Vaccine Results Draw Street Cheers, Market Gains

Moderna Inc. reached a record as early results from the biotech’s Covid-19 shots set stock markets on fire. Wall Street analysts are equally ebullient on the experimental vaccine’s promise.

Tuesday night’s vaccine results, which offered more details after a cursory peek at the data in May, showed “clean safety and robust immunogenicity,” according to Piper Sandler’s Edward Tenthoff. He raised his price target to a new Wall Street high of $134 after the data.

Late-stage studies in thousands of patients are still needed to show the shots are effective and the company’s 30,000-patient trial is not due to start until July 27. However, analysts have already been weighing in on how the likely two-shot regimen may be priced. A price of $75 per vaccine could generate annual sales of $18.75 billion, according to Tenthoff.

“Early vaccine data continues to look very promising, and has a very reasonable likelihood of working and protecting against infection,” Jefferies analyst Michael Yee wrote. That’s also growing market optimism that a vaccine could be available by the end of the year, he said. Earlier this week, Yee suggested the vaccine could generate over $5 billion in yearly sales as orders from around the world are likely to pour in.

Moderna’s stock rose as much as 18% touching an intraday record of $88.37 at Wednesday’s open and is on track for an all-time high close. Markets rallied across the board as traders took the early data as a herald of a return to normalcy, particularly in the U.S., which has seen cases surge in some states. A report that there would be a positive update on an AstraZeneca Plc and University of Oxford-partnered vaccine further fueled the market rise.

Fourteen of the 15 analysts tracked by Bloomberg rate Moderna a buy while one recommends holding shares. No analyst rates it a sell.

Moderna Vaccine Results Draw Street Cheers, Market Gains

Here’s what else analysts are saying:

Piper Jaffray, Edward Tenthoff

“T-cell response to mRNA-1273 differentiates from other vaccine data to date. We believe these data demonstrate clean safety and robust immunogenicity of the 100µg mRNA-1273 dose, supporting the planned Phase 3 start on July 27.”

“The NEJM publication commented that the safety signals compare favorably to Moderna’s two prior mRNA influenza vaccine trials. Notably, there were no neutropenia or lymphopenia,” as was seen with BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc.’s mRNA vaccine BNT162b1, he said.

Reiterates overweight, price target increased to $134 from $100.

Jefferies, Michael Yee

Results for Moderna’s shot “should help increase confidence in the potential of an effective vaccine.”

The more detailed data showed antibody levels that were at the higher-end of expectations and were “at least as good as” Pfizer and BioNtech’s results, though it is always difficult to compare across trials.

A Moderna vaccine could meet U.S. regulator’s guidance for emergency use authorization and eventually become available to government by year end or early next year.

Rates a buy with $90 price target.

BMO, George Farmer

Yesterday’s results “support vaccine utility and clear a path toward commercial success.” Moderna’s vaccine platform could address a $35 billion vaccine market, not including Covid-19.

“We still do not know if the vaccine protects humans against infection.” However, “macaques inoculated with DNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines also developed neutralizing antibodies and were also protected from viral challenge.”

Rates outperform, price target $112.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:

Moderna’s Phase 1 data for mRNA-1273 vaccine “are the most detailed we have seen to date, with an antibody response similar to that for Pfizer-BioNTech’s, when compared with antibody data from patients who’ve recovered from Covid-19. This is the good news. The bad news is that there was very little cellular immune response, which may affect longer-term protection.”

- Analyst Sam Fazeli

-Click here for research

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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