Moderna Initiated Buy at Jefferies, Will Be Added to Nasdaq 100

Moderna's vaccine candidate may sell $5 billion a year, says Jefferies analyst Michael Yee, initiating coverage of the company at buy.
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Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report rose after Jefferies analyst Michael Yee initiated coverage of the biopharmaceutical company with a buy rating and a share-price target of $90, and Nasdaq said it would add the stock to the Nasdaq 100. 

The company’s coronavirus vaccine candidate could sell to the tune of $5 billion a year, he wrote in a commentary cited by Bloomberg.

Last week, Moderna said it completed enrolling patients for a Phase II study of the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273.

Moderna is one of hundreds of companies seeking an effective vaccine. In May, the Cambridge, Mass., company said results from its Phase I study were positive.

The stock's tripling year to date has led analysts to disagree as to “what will happen or if the vaccine will even work, and [analysts are] hugely divided on valuation,” Yee said, according to Bloomberg..

“We believe the Street will be surprised to the upside if the covid-19 vaccine works, gets approved by early 2021, and there are multibillion dollars of purchase orders from … around the world.”

Moderna said last week that it’s on track to deliver 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021.

Yee forecasts that mRNA-1273 will garner “at least” an emergency-use authorization by early next year.

More than 20 vaccine hopefuls are in human testing, and another 130 are in earlier phases of development, according to the World Health Organization.

Moderna shares recently traded at $72.82, up 16.33%. 

Moderna is set to join the Nasdaq 100 index prior to the July 20 market opening.