The regulators might be uncertain whether Moderna’s (MRNA) Covid-19 vaccine is suitable for younger people, but an FDA panel was unanimous in agreement when considering the use of its booster shot. The committee voted 19-0 in favor of a Spikevax booster to be administered at least 6 months following completion of the primary vaccines for individuals over 65, for those between ages 18 to 64 who are at risk either for medical reasons or via occupation and for people in long-term care.
So, good news for the above populations, although Jefferies’ Michael Yee thinks that due to declining cases and the prospect of oral pills for the treatment of Covid-19 entering the market, there is a “waning interest” in the stock. “However,” the analyst went on to say, “A rise in cases this winter could change sentiment to the upside.”
Moderna has already signed contracts for $12 billion worth of doses to be delivered in 2022, with the Street expecting around $15 billion in total. As the pricing has been done per vial, Yee thinks there is “some debate about how pricing will work,” given the boost is half the dose and that means 2x more doses per vial.
While the panel unanimously agreed on the need for a booster shot amongst certain populations, the scarcity of data is still a sticking point, with the available data showing an increase in nAb (neutralizing antibodies), but based on the current evidence, on the subject of risk/benefit and need, there are still “mixed” opinions.
Yee also thinks there is a wider discussion to be had on the purpose of vaccinations.
“This is essentially a debate about whether society wants to prevent infections and the spread of the virus (i.e., boosting would rev up antibodies and protect better) or cares mostly about preventing severe disease (which the vaccine remains very good at doing),” the analyst summed up.
Overall, Yee rates MRNA shares a Hold along with a $375 price target, which implies ~12% upside from current levels. (To watch Yee’s track record, click here)
Most on the Street align with the Jefferies analyst’s rating; based on 6 Holds, 4 Buys and 2 Sells, the analyst consensus rate the stock a Hold. The average price target clocks in at $335.71, suggesting shares will remain range bound for the foreseeable future. (See MRNA stock analysis on TipRanks)
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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.