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Moderna Leads the Pack With Its COVID-19 Vaccine, Says Top Analyst

As we approach the halfway line for 2020, to say that mRNA specialist Moderna (MRNA) has outperformed is an understatement, with it adding 230% to the share price.

Will history remember Moderna as the company that provided the coveted COVID-19 vaccine? Way too early to tell, but you could argue that, with the way things stand, the biotech is one of the companies most likely to do so.

Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, was one of the five chosen by the Trump administration to receive federal support as part of its "Operation Warp Speed" program.

With Phase 2 in progress, Moderna has already ironed out the details with the FDA for the Phase 3 study, intended to begin in July. The trial will include 30,000 participants and is a collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

After testing different dose levels during the Phase 1 study, Moderna has chosen 100 μg as the dose level for the Phase 3 trial. In addition, its collaboration with Lonza remains on target to manufacture 500 million doses per year, and potentially, even up to 1 billion doses annually, starting next year.

Moderna's “near-term move into late-stage development of mRNA-1273,” has resulted in a reevaluation by Chardan analyst Geulah Livshits.

The 5-star analyst said, “With Moderna's phase III trial approaching and the company's reported selection as a finalist by the US government, we update our model to reflect the increased near-term visibility on a commercial path (at least in the US). In the near term, we expect mRNA-1273 will continue to drive momentum as data and other clinical updates roll out over the summer and into the fall, providing a clearer picture of the commercial prospects for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.”

Accordingly, Livshits rates Moderna a Buy along with an $84 price target. The figure implies upside potential of 30%. (To watch Livshits’ track record, click here)

All in all, the vaccine maker has most of the Street’s backing. Moderna's Strong Buy consensus rating is based on 11 Buys and 2 Holds. At $90.40, the average price target suggests upside potential of 40% over the coming months. (See Moderna stock-price forecast on TipRanks)

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