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Moderna Bull, Bear On Q3 Report, Coronavirus Vaccine Timeline

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Moderna Bull, Bear On Q3 Report, Coronavirus Vaccine Timeline

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) reported mixed quarterly results Thursday and suggested an interim efficacy readout from the Phase 3 study is likely in November.

The Moderna Bull Case: Moderna's vaccine timeline is intact, according to Needham analyst Alan Carr, who rates the shares a Buy with a $94 price target.

The 53-event interim analysis expected in November will be followed by a 106-event interim analysis a few weeks later, the analyst said, citing the company.

A missed endpoint does not suggest ineffectiveness, as there are other criteria for an emergency use authorization submission, he said. 

Emergency use authorization may be possible by December, with the company prepping to make 20 million doses available by the end of the year, Carr said.

"We expect COVID-19 vaccine news to drive the stock into 2021, but remind investors of the breadth of the development pipeline behind mRNA-1273." 

Needham said it believes there is substantial long-term value in the stock.

Related Link: Moderna Hits Enrollment Target In Late-Stage Coronavirus Vaccine Study

The Moderna Bear Case: Moderna's November timeline for interim data is second in timing to Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE – ADR's (NASDAQ: BNTX) candidate, SVB Leerink analyst Mani Foroohar said in a note. 

The analyst reiterated an Underperform rating on Moderna shares.

"While the stock may trade positively into a potential EUA by year end, we continue to question MRNA's positioning in the increasingly competitive COVID-19 vaccine environment along with the COVID-19 vaccine market," he said. 

SVB Leerink views the third-quarter results as uneventful, Foroohar said — except for CEO Stéphane Bancel's bullish statements regarding the preparations for the launch of mRNA-1273 and the $1.1 billion in deposits the company collected from customers, which are being recorded as deferred revenues.

MRNA Price Action: Moderna shares lost 5.35% in Friday's session, closing at $67.47.

Benzinga's Take: Although competition and public hesitancy given the accelerated development timeline could act as pushbacks for uptake, there is definitely potential both during the pandemic setting as well as in a post-pandemic endemic setting.

Given that Moderna's vaccine program has progressed remains a frontrunner leaders in the race to develop a vaccine the company stands to benefit from an early mover advantage.

Its prospects depend on how Moderna takes its vaccine program to the finish line, and whether it occurs without any hiccups, especially as its vaccine technology is new and relatively untested.

Related Link: The Daily Biotech Pulse: Novavax Vaccine Data, Axovant Flags Delay In Parkinson's Study, 2 Biotechs Make Wall Street Debuts

Latest Ratings for MRNA

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2020Wells FargoInitiates Coverage OnEqual-Weight
Nov 2020Chardan CapitalMaintainsBuy
Nov 2020RedburnInitiates Coverage OnSell

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