Coronavirus vaccine developer Moderna Inc MRNA has impressed Wall Street analysts with its comprehensive approach and forward thinking.
The Moderna Analyst: Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh maintained an Outperform rating and $108 price target.
The Moderna Thesis: Moderna's comprehensive approach to mRNA-1273 development positions it as a potentially best-in-class product in 2021 and 2022, Singh said in a note that followed following Moderna's R&D day last week and a presentation at the Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference.
An earlier readout from rival Pfizer Inc. PFE — which has a first interim analysis with lower events — could prompt savvy investors to buy the dip in Moderna shares, the analyst said.
Since an emergency use authorization has never been granted by the FDA in the vaccine space before, safety will be paramount, followed by the logistical and technical risk mitigation, he said.
This could prove positive for Moderna, even if it cedes the first-to-market advantage to Pfizer, as Moderna has validated manufacturing and logistics in its favor, Singh said.
Moderna's negative 20-degree centigrade shipping temperature suits the current vaccine logistics chain, unlike rivals, the analyst said.
Moderna will start to separate from the competition in the first half of 2021, in his view.
"We like MRNA's forward thinking on matters like pediatric trials (ages 9-17) where it is already in discussions with FDA, book-ending MRNA's current best-in-class efficacy among older Americans."
Additionally, Moderna is planning for a pandemic-to-endemic transition, with additional accelerating launches from its robust pipeline, Singh said.
A successful mRNA-1273 Phase 3 trial will start Moderna on a journey to profitability and strong revenue and earnings growth, the analyst said.
Many investors are yet unappreciative of the company's comprehensive planning for clinical and commercial success, according to Oppenheimer.
MRNA Price Action: At last check, Moderna shares were up 6.2% to $69.21.
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