Moderna Inks Qatar Supply Deal For Covid-19 Vaccine

Moderna (MRNA) has announced a new supply deal with Qatar for mRNA-1273, Moderna’s vaccine candidate against COVID-19. Moderna says the deal is part of the Ministry’s ongoing efforts to secure early access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for the people of Qatar.

“We appreciate the confidence of the Ministry of Health of Qatar in our mRNA vaccine platform and the collaboration we have had to date,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO.

“We are advancing the clinical development of mRNA-1273 with our Phase 3 COVE study, which is now fully enrolled with a representative demography of participants across ages, ethnicities and high-risk populations” he added.

The Phase 1 interim analysis showed that mRNA-1273 was generally well-tolerated across all age groups and induced rapid and strong immune responses against SARS-CoV-2.

mRNA-1273 is currently being studied in a Phase 3 randomized, 1:1 placebo-controlled trial of 30,000 participants at the 100 µg dose level in the U.S. On October 22, Moderna completed enrollment of the Phase 3 COVE study.

At the same time, Moderna is also scaling up its manufacturing capability with strategic partners, Lonza and Rovi to be able to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021.

According to Moderna, mRNA medicines are designed to direct the body’s cells to produce intracellular, membrane or secreted proteins that can have a therapeutic or preventive benefit and have the potential to address a broad spectrum of diseases.

Shares in Moderna are rising 1% in Monday’s pre-market, and are up over 260% year-to-date, boosted by optimism over the vaccine candidate. Due to the extreme rally, Wall Street analysts have a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy consensus on the stock’s outlook. Looking ahead, the $93 average price target suggests additional 32% upside potential lies ahead.

Speaking for the bulls, Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh recently reiterated his buy rating on the stock with a $108 price target.

“We continue to like MRNA as we enter the 3Q20 reporting cycle, as we expect SMID and large-cap biotech performance to bifurcate. Over the remainder of 2020, MRNA could begin to provide preliminary color on how sales/earnings could evolve for investors for 2021 as well as oneoff nature of the pandemic’s initial revenue stream” he explained. (See MRNA stock analysis on TipRanks).

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