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Vaccine makers Moderna and BioNTech are significantly overvalued, say analysts

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Moderna - Dado Ruvic
Moderna - Dado Ruvic

Vaccine makers Moderna and BioNTech look significantly overvalued, analysts have warned, even with a sales bump expected to come from booster shots.

Moderna is now worth $169bn (£122bn), more than 2,000pc higher than at the start of 2020, while BioNTech’s valuation stands at $79bn, a 717pc increase over the same period.

The two companies have been buoyed significantly by their vaccine successes after creating two of the most widely used Covid jabs.

However, analysts at Morningstar said that in the longer term both companies’ cash flow would be “heavily reliant” on their non-Covid infectious disease and oncology pipelines, “where development and commercial risk create a very high uncertainty around our valuation of these firms”.

The analyst company said Moderna looked on track to make $22bn in sales from its vaccine this year, while Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab was forecast to generate $35bn in sales. This would be followed by “strong sales” next year from booster rollouts in the developed world and initial vaccine programmes in developing nations.

“The Covid-19 vaccine market evolution beyond 2022 will depend on the duration of vaccine protection, how variants evolve, and how new vaccines progress.

“Our base case post-pandemic focuses on annual boosters for infants and the elderly. At a price of $25 per dose in the US and $8 per dose in developing markets, this creates a $7.5bn annual market. We assume Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech could each take 25pc-30pc of this market, or $2bn in annual sales each.”

The analysts said the two companies “look significantly overvalued at recent prices”.

The comments came after vaccine makers slumped earlier this week following a scientific report suggesting most people may not need booster doses.

The Lancet article said there was “still high vaccine efficacy against both symptomatic and severe disease due to the delta variant” and that “evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population”.

Boris Johnson will set out plans for booster shots on Wednesday. Earlier on Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that those over 50 will be offered a third vaccine within the next few days, alongside their flu jabs. Those over 70 and healthcare workers will be offered a third jab first.

The joint committee has suggested that people be offered a Pfizer/BioNTech jab even if they received AstraZeneca shots previously, or a half-dose of the Moderna vaccine.