Stock Analysis & Ideas

Moderna’s (MRNA) Stock Will Surge 80% From Current Levels, Says Analyst

There’s no doubt about it, Moderna’s (MRNA) profile has increased dramatically since the pandemic’s onset.

The biotech name has climbed 206% higher this year, as investors have piled in with the hope that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, might be the one to solve the coronavirus conundrum. Yet, it hasn’t all been positive news. Recently, questions have surfaced concerning the company’s sale of shares following the stock’s latest surge.

Blocking out all of the noise, Oppenheimer analyst Hartag Singh recently attended Moderna’s virtual Science Day to get some visibility on the work going on behind the scenes. The 5-star analyst liked what he heard, to say the least.

“Building on the last two Science Days, Moderna has kept a focus on strengthening its Research Platform science, with (1) increasing mRNA and encoded protein half-lives and stabilizing mRNA while avoiding double-stranded RNA impurities, (2) making a novel squaramide-based ionizable lipid (new LNP) to improve protein expression, and (3) designing a preclinical HIV vaccine program to MRNA’s platform with its rapid iterative design/testing abilities,” Singh said.

Highlights from the presentation included information regarding protein half-lives; Singh notes the duration of response and protein expression is improved by increasing half-lives of mRNA and protein. This is accomplished by “maximizing secondary structure and codon optimality, with a terminal idT added to prevent deadenylation that causes mRNA decay.”

Singh added, “On a broader level, being able to understand and govern half-lives could potentially open new indication opportunities as well as better products for life-cycle management.”

Moderna’s research collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to develop an HIV vaccine also got a mention, with MRNA’s “unique platform capabilities,” receiving plaudits from both presenting KOLs (key opinion leaders).

Summarizing, Singh “stays bullish,” and further said, “We would like to remind investors that MRNA’s story is not a linear one but a platform expanding its value from many aspects.”

To this end, Singh reiterated an Outperform rating on Moderna shares along with a $108 price target. Investors could be in for nearly 80% gain, should the Oppenheimer analyst’s thesis play out over the next year. (To watch Singh’s track record, click here)

The rest of the Street keeps a bullish stance on Moderna, too. 10 Buys and 2 Holds add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. The average price target comes in at $89.33, and implies possible upside of a handsome 47%. (See Moderna stock analysis on TipRanks)

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