Moderna soars to all-time high amid news of Covid-19 vaccine deal
Moderna saw its share price soar another 14% last Friday to close the week at an all-time high of US$94.86 a share.
What’s the Moderna share price update?
Shares of Moderna Inc continued to burgeon, hitting an all-time high on Friday 17 July 2020, following reports that the company is negotiating an advance purchase deal with the European Union (EU) for its Covid-19 trial vaccine.
The US pharmaceutical company then saw its stock rally over 14% to hit US$95.21 per share later in the day – its highest price ever, based on IG data. The stock was among the top five most traded shares of the day on the IG platform.
Moderna eventually closed the session just slightly under at US$94.86 a share.
IG market analysis show that ‘sells’ form 51% of all trades on the Moderna counter this month. Additionally, 99% of IG client accounts with open positions in this market expect Moderna’s share price to rise.
What’s behind the Moderna stock rally?
Even before news of the EU deal had broken out, Moderna was already experiencing a surge in share price.
Last Tuesday 15 July, the biotechnology company announced interim Phase 1 study results of mRNA-1273, its vaccine candidate against Covid-19. Following that, the pharmaceutical stock hit a two-month high of US$84.75 per share on Wednesday 15 July.
That evaluation report had reaffirmed an earlier set of ‘positive’ interim data first revealed on 18 May 2020. The results showed that mRNA-1273 ‘induced rapid and strong immune responses against’ the coronavirus.
Moderna added in the update that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate ‘was generally safe and well-tolerated, with no serious adverse events reported through Day 57’.
Moderna is one of many drug manufacturers in the US are currently in the race to finding a Covid-19 vaccine. Other companies with vaccine candidates include Pfizer, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
Moderna stock: The bullish outlook
Since the publication of the initial findings, some analysts have reiterated their ratings on the Moderna stock, even increasing their share price targets.
Piper Jaffray’s Edward Tenthoff raised his price estimate to US$134 from US$100, stating that the data ‘demonstrate clean safety and robust immunogenicity of the 100µg mRNA-1273 dose’.
In addition, he noted that ‘there were no neutropenia or lymphopenia’ in the participants as was present in BioNTech and Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine BNT162b1.
Meanwhile, Jefferies researcher Michael Yee, who called a ‘buy’ on Moderna alongside a US$90 price target, wrote: ‘Early vaccine data continues to look very promising, and has a very reasonable likelihood of working and protecting against infection.’
Why Moderna 'must deliver substantial positive pipeline data'
On the other hand, Bloomberg Intelligence pharmaceutical analysts Cinney Zhang and Sam Fazeli wrote on 15 July that the Phase 1 data is ‘inconclusive for Covid-19 prevention’.
They added that questions over mRNA-1273’s prevention effectiveness ‘may only be answered by its Phase III trial’ due to start on 27 July. Furthermore, side effects were a ‘mild concern’ in this round of testing, while ‘T-cell response to-date don’t look encouraging’.
In terms of share price, although Moderna’s stock value has skyrocketed over 200% this year, this has been predicated on the assumed success of mRNA-1273, as well as other pipeline therapies. However, ‘all of these…have yet to gain validation’, the analysts cautioned.
‘To add weight to its lofty valuation, Moderna must deliver substantial positive pipeline data’, they concluded.
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