Moderna, Inc. MRNA rose to prominence with its messenger RNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. The stock capitalized on the catalyst and ran up from obscurity to respectable levels.
The stock rally has cooled amid fears regarding the sustainability of the strength induced by the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Moderna Analyst: Morgan Stanley analyst Matthew Harrison maintained an Equal-weight rating and $199 price target on Moderna stock.
The Moderna Thesis: Many rare diseases are caused by defective proteins, and mRNA therapeutics offer clinical benefit in these cases by producing functional copies of these defective proteins, analyst Harrison said in a note.
Moderna's initial Phase 1/2 data for propionic acidemia/methylmalonic acidemia, due in 2022, could help unlock the broader opportunity by de-risking a wide range of rare diseases, the analyst said. PA/MMA is a rare inherited disease. The analyst sees rare diseases as a multi-billion-dollar opportunity.
"Initial proof of concept could unlock a broader rare disease pipeline because mgmt. can easily replace one mRNA with a new mRNA to target a new disease," Harrison said.
The initial data could be directional, the analyst said. Rare diseases, however, could be an underappreciated long-term pipeline driver for Moderna, he added.
Moderna Price Action: In premarket trading Friday, Moderna stock was edging up 0.23% to $143.59, according to Benzinga Pro data.
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