Moderna Signs 25M COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Supply Deal With Australia; Shares Dip 4%

Moderna, Inc. (MRNA) has won a new order for the supply of 25 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Australia. Shares plunged almost 4% on May 12 to close at $152.68.

The biotech company said that the new order includes 10 million doses of mRNA-1273 which will be delivered this year. The remaining 15 million doses which consist of Moderna’s updated variant booster vaccine candidate will be delivered by 2022.

Moderna is likely to seek necessary approvals from the regulators as well as from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia, prior to the distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine doses, the company said.

Earlier this year, Moderna announced its intent to open a commercial subsidiary in Australia in 2021 in a bid to expand its commercial network.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said, “We appreciate the partnership and support from the government of Australia with this first supply agreement for doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and our variant booster candidates”.

Bancel added, “As we seek to protect people around the world with our COVID-19 vaccine and potentially our variant booster candidates, we look forward to continuing discussions with Australia about establishing potential local manufacturing opportunities.” (See Moderna stock analysis on TipRanks)

Recently, the company reported better-than-expected Q1 earnings and the first profitable quarter in its history. The company recorded earnings of $2.84 per share, compared to a loss of $0.35 in the prior-year quarter, and surpassed the Street’s estimates of $2.39. However, total revenue of $1.94 billion missed analysts’ expectations of $2.04 billion.

Last week, J.P. Morgan analyst Cory Kasimov increased the stock’s price target to $127 (16.8% downside potential) from $121 and reiterated a Hold rating.

Kasimov said, “We should see a material step up in future quarters as vaccine is delivered on a more global basis (counterintuitive to the typical biopharma biz model). We are optimistic on MRNA’s long term prospects and do believe that mRNA-1273 will generate an enormous amount of capital for the company near term.”

“The possibility of a potential supply glut of COVID-19 vaccines and the uncertain duration of pandemic leaves us relatively cautious on the substantial amount of value that the market is already ascribing to this true game changing product,” the analyst added.

The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic about the stock with a Moderate Buy consensus rating. That’s based on 6 Buys, 4 Holds, and 2 Sells. The average analyst price target of $174.18 implies 14.1% upside potential to current levels. Shares have gained almost 71% so far over the past six months.

Furthermore, TipRanks data shows that financial blogger opinions are 83% Bullish on Moderna, compared to a sector average of 70%.

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