Moderna: COVID-19 Vaccine UpdateDec 02, 2020
Price Target: $100
Moderna's vaccine blows past expectations and hits with 94.5% efficacy.
Moderna's management team reported that mRNA-1273 (their vaccine) met its primary goal of preventing 94.5% of symptomatic COVID-19 infections at the first interim analysis in 95 patients. This included 11 severe cases of COVID-19 (all placebo group), 15 cases in patients over 65 and 20 cases from diverse communities. Adverse events appear in-line with expectations and mainly include injection site reactions. The management team of Moderna fully expects to submit to the FDA for an emergency use authorization in the coming weeks using the entire analysis population of 151 COVID-19 infections.
This in a vacuum is massive news with extremely exciting implications not only for the stock but for the world at large. However, given the narrow lens in which we are looking at this, we have to compare it with Pfizer's recent announcement in order to help compare the differences.
Differences vs. Pfizer:
Moderna has updated their expectations for how long mRNA-1273 can remain stable at normal refrigeration from 7 days to 30 days! Long-term storage at -20C for up to 6 months has remains unchanged. Relative to Pfizer, this isn't even on the same playing field as Pfizer's shelf life is terrible relative to Moderna! Pfizer's vaccine also needs to be stored at -70C or colder which will increase distribution costs and their overall investment profile.
How to play it:
Overall, we believe these data points are very strong and support mRNA-1273 as a best-in-class vaccine for COVID-19.
We therefore are reiterating our overweight rating and are updating our price target (which we originally called correctly back in February) to reflect these implications.