AstraZeneca, Moderna Reportedly Nearing WHO Approval for Vaccines

The World Health Organization may approve Moderna’s vaccine by the end of next month, according to Reuters.
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AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report and Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report are among western and Chinese companies whose vaccines the World Health Organization expects to approve in coming weeks and months, according to Reuters, which cited internal documents.

Moderna’s vaccine already is being used in the U.S. and overseas, while AstraZeneca’s has received approval only overseas. The WHO may approve Moderna’s vaccine by the end of next month, according to Reuters.

The WHO may approve a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India in January or February. 

It may authorize that same vaccine manufactured in South Korea by SK Bioscience by the end of February or later.

AstraZeneca shares recently traded at $51.92, down 1.2% and Moderna at $123.40, down 1.3%.

Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen puts fair value for AstraZeneca at $55. She’s “skeptical of AstraZeneca's ability to penetrate the U.S. market due to mixed phase 3 data so far,” she wrote in a commentary this month.

But “AstraZeneca has built its leading presence in the pharma and biotech industry on patent-protected drugs and a developing pipeline that add up to a wide moat,” Andersen wrote last year. 

“The replenishment of new drugs is finally offsetting the recent patent losses on gastrointestinal drug Nexium and cholesterol reducer Crestor that have weighed on the company's growth potential.”

Further, “AstraZeneca's pipeline is emerging as one of the strongest in the drug group, and we think the company is developing several key products that hold blockbuster potential,” Andersen said.