Moderna Analyst On Why Coronavirus Vaccine Developer's Stock Is Long-Term Attractive

Even as major pharma companies face hiccups in their coronavirus vaccine programs, Moderna Inc MRNA is slowly and steadily progressing in its quest to obtain emergency use authorization for its vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 before the year is out. 

The Moderna Analyst: Needham analyst Alan Carr has a Buy rating on Moderna with a $94 price target. 

The Moderna Takeaways: With Moderna guiding for results from the ongoing Phase 3 trial of mRNA-1273 to come early as November, emergency use authorization could arrive before the end of 2020, Carr said in a Tuesday note. 

Needham estimates mRNA-1273 sales of $400 million in the fourth quarter, $2 billion in 2021 and $1 billion in 2022.

The overall neutralizing antibody data from the additional interim Phase 1 readout and the interim Phase 2 readout released in September suggests the vaccine has durable effect, the analyst said. 

Related Link: The Week Ahead In Biotech: J&J Earnings Kickstarts Pharma Earnings, More IPOs In The Pipeline

Looking at the rest of Moderna's pipeline, he said enrollment has resumed in a Phase 2b trial of the hMPV/PIV3 vaccine mRNA-1653 following a suspension in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An investigational new drug application for the pediatric RSV vaccine mRNA-1345 was submitted in August, Carr said.

Moderna has also planned to resume development of an mRNA-based seasonal influenza vaccine, likely in combination with other respiratory vaccines, and possibly COVID-19, the analyst said. 

An IND submission for mRNA-3705 in methylmalonic acidemia is expected, he said. 

Material updates from Moderna's oncology and cardiovascular disease programs are unlikely to come in the fourth quarter, Carr said. 

Progress on mRNA-1273 as a vaccine for COVID-19 represents an upside opportunity, the analyst said.

"We believe the stock is attractive in the long-term, given validation of the Moderna mRNA platform and an extensive diversified pipeline." 

MRNA Price Action: Moderna shares were trading 3.56% higher to $77.99 at last check Tuesday. 

Related Link: FDA's COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance Shows 'Substantial' Obligations For Developers: Analyst

Posted In: Alan CarrCoronavirusCovid-19NeedhamvaccineAnalyst ColorBiotechHealth CarePrice TargetReiterationAnalyst RatingsGeneral

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