2 Moderna Analysts On Chances Of COVID-19 Vaccine Approval, Upcoming Catalysts

Two Moderna Inc MRNA analysts issued snapshots this week on the progress of the company's coronavirus vaccine program.

The Moderna Analysts: SVB Leerink analyst Mani Foroohar maintained a Market Perform rating on Moderna with a $58 price target. 

Morgan Stanley analyst Matthew Harrison maintained an Overweight rating and $90 price target.

Focus Points For Moderna Investors: The promising data in older adults reported by Moderna at the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting Wednesday was in line with expectations, SVB Leerink's Foroohar said in a Thursday note.

The analyst said he awaits a fuller data release in an upcoming publication, with

plaque reduction neutralization test neutralizing assays, potential clarity on T-cell response and patient baseline characteristics in older cohorts.

Moderna said collection of real-time stability data in support of storage and distribution at 20 degrees Celsius versus other mRNA vaccine competitors is underway, he said.

Competing vaccine candidates require storage at negative 70 degrees Celsius, and this could be a source of differentiation, Foroohar said.

With the company suggesting enrollment in the pivotal Phase 3 trial is halfway complete, the analyst said he expects completion at the end of September. 

The investor focus over the next month will likely be on Phase 2/3 data, disclosure of further government supply contracts and pricing from MRNA and competitors, he said. 

"We continue to anticipate that MRNA will be one of several players to obtain an emergency use authorization (EUA) in 4Q20 and model a strong early bolus of volume."

See also: Attention Biotech Investors: Mark Your Calendar For August PDUFA Dates

Morgan Stanley's Takeaways On AICP Meeting: Enrollment in the Phase 3 COVE trial is in line with expectations, Harrison said in a Wednesday note. Moderna expressed confidence in the potential efficacy of the vaccine candidate being more than 60%, the analyst said. 

Older adults over 65 years who are at a higher risk for severe disease will make up 25%-40% of the Phase 3 study population, he said, citing Moderna. 

"These high-risk patients will be stratified, but if the similar neutralizing titers achieved in older patients translate to similar efficacy across all risk groups, this could lead to potentially best-in-class efficacy," Harrison said. 

MRNA Price Action: At last check, Moderna shares were sliding 4.66% to $67.22. 

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Posted In: CoronavirusCovid-19Mani ForooharMatthew HarrisonMorgan StanleySVB LeerinkvaccineAnalyst ColorBiotechHealth CarePrice TargetReiterationTop StoriesAnalyst RatingsGeneral