Israel Is Said To Be In Talks To Buy Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate

Israel is in advanced talks to buy Moderna Inc.’s (MRNA) experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate, the country’s news portal Ynet reported.

The talks come after Moderna last week announced that it is commencing with the late-stage testing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, according to the report, which cited unnamed officials at Israel’s Health Ministry. Additional details weren’t provided.

The biotech company, which has already finalized the Phase 3 study protocol for the vaccine candidate is expected to start a trial of 30,000 participants enrolled in the U.S. in July. The trial’s primary endpoint will be the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 disease, while key secondary endpoints include prevention of infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease.

Shares in Moderna more than tripled this year, as investors piled into the stock amid hopes for the potential of its virus vaccine. The stock rose 3% to $62 on Friday.

It looks like the rally has not yet run out of steam. Five-star analyst Edward Tenthoff at Piper Sandler last week reiterated a Buy rating on the stock with a $100 price target (61% upside potential) after the company finalized the Phase III trial protocol for the vaccine candidate.

Tenthoff added that Moderna has already completed mRNA-1273 manufacturing required to begin Phase III trial vaccinations in July with supply agreements supporting manufacturing of 500 million to 1 billion 100 microgram doses per year.

The rest of the Street has a bullish stance on Moderna’s stock. It boasts 11 Buy ratings versus 2 Hold ratings which add up to a Strong Buy consensus. Despite the recent share bonanza, the $90.40 average price target still indicates another 46% upside potential from current levels. (See Moderna stock analysis on TipRanks).

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