The European Union is reportedly in talks to make advance purchase deals of potential COVID-19 vaccines with drugmakers Moderna (MRNA), Sanofi (SNY) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) as well as biotech firms BioNtech (BNTX) and CureVac.
The most advanced talks appear to be those with Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi because the EU is already discussing details on the number of doses needed, Reuters reported. With U.S. giant Johnson & Johnson, the EU is negotiating a supply of 200 million doses of its potential vaccine, the Reuters report said, adding that additional supplies may also be available.
“We are in talks with several companies on possible COVID-19 vaccines,” a spokesman for the Commission told Reuters on Friday, declining to comment on specific firms as negotiations were confidential.
In the second half of next year, the EU is also planning to secure 300 million doses of the potential vaccine developed by France’s Sanofi in cooperation with British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.
In addition, Sanofi told Reuters it was in “advanced talks with the EU for the delivery of 300 million doses”. Negotiations were also ongoing, with U.S. firm Moderna, whose experimental COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated last week that it was safe and provoked immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in an ongoing early-stage study.
The EU is also in talks with German biotechnology firms BioNtech and CureVac to buy in advance their potential vaccines. BioNtech is developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine in cooperation with U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE), for which 100 million doses could be available by the end of the year.
Following the report, shares in Moderna jumped 16% to $94.85 at the close on Friday propelling this year’s rally to 385%. What’s more, Wall Street analysts have a bullish Strong Buy consensus on the stock’s outlook. Meanwhile, the $94.15 average price target suggests the stock is now fully valued. (See Moderna stock analysis).
However, Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh sees more room for stock gains ahead. The analyst reiterated a Buy rating on the shares with a $108 price target (14% upside potential) saying that he continues to find MRNA attractive as he believes that the company is the leader in the COVID-19 vaccine space.
“Pricing dynamics, potential donation of free vaccine and distribution of mRNA-1273, its potential vaccine, are non-trivial issues,” Singh wrote in a note to investors. “We believe these can be navigated, but transit could be choppy.”
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