Moderna Inks COVID-19 Vaccine Production Agreement with Lonza

Biotechnology company Moderna Inc. (MRNA) has inked an additional drug substance manufacturing agreement with Lonza.

Per the terms of the agreement, a new production line will be set up at Lonza’s Geleen facility in the Netherlands, which will supply 300 million doses of Moderna’s booster variant vaccine candidate which is yet to receive approval.

Moderna also has a drug substance supply agreement with ROVI in Spain and expects to supply about 600 million doses each year in the E.U. Both of these supply lines are expected to be functional before the end of 2021.

Juan Andres, Moderna’s Chief Technical Operations and Quality Officer said, “We thank our manufacturing partners for their work and their commitment and are proud to be building on the strong foundations we have established with Lonza to further increase our manufacturing capabilities in Europe.”  (See Moderna stock analysis on TipRanks)

Additionally, Moderna signed a deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) for fill/finish sterile production services and supply packaging of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Thermo Fisher’s facility in North Carolina will provide services for aseptic fill/finish, labeling, and packaging to support the COVID-19 vaccine production efforts, which is expected to begin in Q3.

Recently, Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh assigned the stock a Buy rating and a $206 price target (11.6% upside potential).

Commenting after Moderna’s fourth annual science day, Singh said, “The COVID-19 business will stay through a longer tail fueled by mutations/variants and needed booster shots; already demonstrating the speed to react to new variant strains utilizing mRNA technology.”

The analyst added, “Moderna has developed robust computational processes and could go a step further to predict potential virus escape variants proactively (continuous design and testing).”

Consensus among analysts is that Moderna is a Moderate Buy based on 6 Buys, 3 Holds, and 2 Sells. The average analyst price target of $190.22 implies 3% upside potential to current levels.

Shares have surged about 208.4% over the past year.

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