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Can Moderna Stock Live Up to the Hype? Analyst Weighs In

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Over the past 12 months, Moderna’s (MRNA) share price has increased by a spectacular 517%. Of course, the upside has mainly been driven by the prospect of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 becoming a success.

The company – and its vaccine - has undoubtably come good on its promise. Over 30 countries’ regulatory bodies have already approved the vaccine for use.

However, the stock market is a forward-thinking beast, counting on the promise of what could happen. So, what now that Moderna’s main catalyst has been and gone?

After last year’s outsized performance, Jefferies analyst Michael Yee believes the biotech has a lot to live up to. As the analyst notes, “expectations are not low.”

However, based on mRNA-1273’s sales, the company is tracking ahead of the estimates.

“MRNA has signed $11.7B in contracts, which is above consensus of $8B and our estimate of $10B,” Yee said. “This is ~510-525M doses and why they raised dose guidance from 500M to 600M. If they produce ~800M doses, which is the mid point of scenario range, they could do ~$13B+ if they sold it all out. The company is in discussion to sign additional contracts for 2021 and 2022, where the co announced capacity of ~1.2B doses.”

As far as Moderna’s Covid-19 competitors are concerned, JNJ is expected to release data from its Covid-19 vaccine’s Phase 3 trial shortly. Yee expects the vaccine will display a 90-95% efficacy rate (mRNA-1273 had a 94.1% success rate.) JNJ’s offering appears to have a distinct advantage, as it requires only one dose, compared to mRNA-1273’s two dose regimen. However, Moderna believes that once the pandemic is over, the “benefit of a single shot is minimal as all vaccines will be one-shot only boosters.”

Further out, the company has other catalysts, starting with the anticipated kick off of the Phase 3 study in CMV (mRNA-1647) this year, which Yee says is “the big blockbuster to watch.” Additionally, Phase 1 trials for several flu vaccine candidates (mRNA-1010, mRNA-1020, and mRNA1030) are expected to go ahead this year, too.

All in all, Yee's review comes with a Hold rating and a $150 price target that implies a 20% upside potential over the next 12 months. (To watch Yee’s track record, click here)

So, that’s Jefferies' view. Let’s have a look at what the rest of the Street has in mind for MRNA shares. Based on 7 Buys, 7 Holds and 2 Sells, the analyst consensus rates the stock a Moderate Buy. Going by the $147.08 average price target, shares are anticipated to be changing hands at ~18% premium over the next 12 months. (See MRNA stock analysis on TipRanks)

To find good ideas for healthcare stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.