Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine Wins EU Approval; Top Analyst Lifts PT

Shares of Moderna spiked 6.5% on Wednesday after the European Union authorized the use of its vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals aged 18 years and older.

Following the conditional marketing authorization (CMA), the first deliveries of Moderna’s (MRNA) mRNA-1273 vaccine to EU countries are expected to be rolled out next week. The EU has secured 160 million doses of the vaccine after exercising its option to double its confirmed order commitment by 80 million doses last month.

Moderna’s mRNA-1273, which is undergoing late-stage trials, triggers an antibody response specifically to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and has demonstrated efficacy of 94.1% against COVID-19.

“I want to thank the European Commission for its engagement and endorsement and the EMA for its recommendation, which is another significant moment in our company’s history,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said. “The EMA and the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use reviewers, working over the holidays, provided a thorough review and comprehensive guidance as we worked together to achieve this authorization.”

The EU is the fourth jurisdiction to authorize Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, following US clearance on Dec. 18, Canada’s approval on Dec. 23, and Israel’s green light on Jan. 4. Additional authorizations are currently being assessed in Singapore, Switzerland, and the UK.

Shares of Moderna have dropped 27% over the past month but are still up a staggering 541% over the past year. Meanwhile, Wall Street analysts still have a cautiously optimistic outlook on the stock with a Moderate Buy consensus. That’s based on 7 Buys, 7 Holds and 2 Sells. What’s more, the average price target stands at $147.08, which indicates that another 27% upside potential lies ahead.

The EU clearance prompted Piper Sandler analyst Edward Tenthoff to lift the stock’s price target to $170 from $166, and maintain a Buy rating as he believes that mRNA-1273 has now has a validation and will catalyse Moderna’s “rich mRNA pipeline.”

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