Moderna Gets Another $472M For Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate Study; Top Analyst Says Buy

Moderna (MRNA) said on Sunday that it has been awarded up to $472 million by the U.S.  Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support late stage clinical development of its mRNA vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) against COVID-19.

The U.S. grant will be used to fund the drugmaker’s expanded Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273, which includes 30,000 participants in the U.S and is scheduled to start on July 27.  After having already received $483 million from BARDA earlier this year to support early clinical development of the investigational vaccine, the total value of the award is now about $955 million.

“We thank BARDA for this continued commitment to mRNA-1273, our vaccine candidate against COVID-19.” said Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel. “Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks."

The primary endpoint of the randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 3 trial will be the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 disease. Key secondary endpoints include the prevention of severe COVID-19 disease as defined by the need for hospitalization and prevention of infection by SARS-CoV-2.

Moderna reiterated that the company remains on track to deliver about 500 million doses per year, and up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021. Initial funding of $1.3 billion for Moderna to begin producing mRNA-1273 was secured from investors in the company’s most recent public equity offering in May 2020.

Shares in Moderna have surged 276% so far this year, and Wall Street analysts have a Strong Buy consensus on the stock’s outlook. The $91.87 average price target suggests an additional 25% upside potential lies ahead. (See MRNA stock analysis on TipRanks).

In a bullish note, five-star analyst Hartaj Singh at Oppenheimer on Friday assigned a Buy rating on the stock with a $108 price target suggesting shares have room to gain another 48% over the coming year.

“We do see a tricky period ahead for MRNA as logistics and discussions of commercialization (e.g., pricing) intensify,” Singh wrote in a note to investors on July 24. “We continue to see Moderna as well-positioned to navigate these waters, based on the company's impressive execution in the clinic, thoughtful commentary on the clinical/commercial landscape, and delivered results. Hence, we would buy MRNA.”

Related News:
Pfizer, BioNTech Ink UK Supply Deal For 30M Covid-19 Vaccine Doses
Moderna Soars 16% As Covid-19 Vaccine Shows Strong Immune Response
GSK Buys 10% Stake In Germany’s CureVac To Develop mRNA Vaccines

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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