Moderna Begin Trials of Omicron-Specific Booster Vaccine

Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) announced that it has begun trials of its Omicron-specific booster candidate on healthy adults. Shares of the biotechnology company rose 2.1% in Thursday’s extended trading session and a further 3.3% at the time of writing.

Notably, one of the candidates of its Phase 2 study has been dosed with the vaccine. This is basically an extension of earlier study to evaluate the efficiency of a single booster dose in adults aged 18 years and above.

Candidates chosen are those who previously received the two-dose primary series of mRNA-1273 with the second dose being at least six months ago. Another set of candidates are those who received the two-dose primary series and a 50 µg booster dose of mRNA-1273 with the booster dose being at least three months ago.

The company plans to perform the trials on about 300 participants in both the sets of candidates. Also, Moderna is evaluating the inclusion of mRNA-1273.529 in its multivalent booster program.

Moderna also disclosed data that patients administered with three doses of Moderna’s vaccine showed neutralizing antibodies against omicron even after six months. However, after the booster dose, levels of omicron-fighting antibodies declined faster than those against the original virus strain.

Stock Rating

Moderna’s active work in the COVID-19-related vaccine space helped it attract ratings from several analysts, making it one of the trending stocks to watch today.

On January 26, Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Papadakis upgraded the rating on Moderna to Hold from Sell but lowered the price target to $175 from $200.

Based on 6 Buys, 9 Holds and 1 Sell, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The average Moderna price target of $302.92 implies 95.5% upside potential from current levels. Shares have declined 2.9% over the past year.

News Sentiment

News Sentiment for Moderna is Positive based on 90 articles over the past seven days. All the articles have Bullish sentiment, compared to a sector average of 61%, and none have Bearish Sentiment, compared to a sector average of 39%.

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