Moderna Inc MRNA announced Monday positive efficacy data from the first interim analysis of the Phase 3 COVE study of its investigational coronavirus vaccine mRNA-1273.
The Moderna Analysts: SVB Leerink analyst Mani Foroohar maintained an Underperform rating on Moderna.
Needham analyst Alan Carr maintained a Buy rating and increased the price target from $94 to $110.
Analyst Says Data Matches Elevated Expectations: The 94.5% vaccine efficacy point estimate of mModerna's RNA-1272 is well above the previously specified primary endpoint of about 74.1% and is better than the over 90% efficacy reported by Pfizer Inc. PFE and BioNTech SE – ADR BNTX for their vaccine candidate, Foroohar said in a note.
The interim analysis included 95 events compared to the prespecified 53 events and Pfizer-BioNTech's 94 events, the analyst said.
Of the 95 events, five occurred in the RNA-1273 group and 90 in the placebo arm, he said.
The placebo group had 11 severe COVID-19 cases, and there were none in the control group, Foroohar said.
The results are "robustly positive" and in line with elevated expectations following Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine data, the analyst said.
The data releases from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have further validated the use of mRNA-based vaccines in SARS-COV-2, he said.
Initial doses of Moderna's vaccine are likely to be available as early as December given the company's intention to submit an emergency use authorization in the coming weeks, Foroohar said.
The focus now shifts to the safety profile, according to SVB Leerink.
The sell-side firm expects upcoming detailed releases from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech to be scrutinized intensely.
The data release at first glance appears encouraging, with the majority of adverse events being mild or moderate in severity, and Grade 3 events after the second dose generally being short-lived, the analyst said.
Moderna updated storage estimates, with a storage duration of 30 days at 2 to 8 degrees centigrade, up from the previous estimate of At negative 20 degrees centigrade, the vaccine can stay effective for six months, according to SVB Leerink.
Needham On 'Impressive Results': Moderna's interim readout represents an impressive outcome, Needham analyst Carr said.
The analyst projects emergency use authorization by December, assuming an application is filed by the end of November after two months of safety data is collected.
Needham raised its sales estimate for 2021 substantially from $2 billion to $7.28 billion and from $1 billion to $2 billion in 2022.
More upside is possible if other vaccines with different mechanisms of action aren't as effective — or if Moderna boosts production capacity beyond 500 million doses in 2021, Carr said.
Needham aalso raised its probability of success for the vaccine candidate from 80% to 90%.
MRNA Price Action: At last check, Moderna shares were jumping 9% to $97.44.
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