According to a report published by Reuters, Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) has raised its COVID-19 vaccine sales guidance for this year to around $21 billion from $19 billion.
Last month, the company said that it expected sales of Spikevax to total $19 billion and optional additional purchases of $3 billion.
In its press release, Moderna said, “Advance purchase agreements (APAs) for 2022 are at ~$21 billion and options are at ~$0.5 billion.”
Strategic Agreement with Oz
The clinical-stage biotechnology company has entered into a 10-year strategic agreement with the Government of Australia to set up an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in the country.
Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, said, “We are delighted to reach this milestone with the Australian Government and finalize our first on-shore manufacturing agreement.”
Moderna plans to manufacture a portfolio of mRNA vaccines at the facility, which will be located in Melbourne, Victoria. These vaccines will treat respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, seasonal influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), among others.
The construction of the facility is likely to commence this year, with plans to begin operations by the end of 2024. Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created during the construction of the facility and when operations begin.
As part of the agreement, Moderna will collaborate with Australian research institutions and set up a Regional Research Centre for respiratory medicines and tropical diseases.
Massachusetts-based Moderna develops therapeutics and vaccines based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) for the treatment of infectious, immuno-oncology, and cardiovascular diseases.
Its product pipeline includes prophylactic vaccines, cancer vaccines, intratumoral immuno-oncology, localized regenerative therapeutics, systemic secreted therapeutics, and systemic intracellular therapeutics.
Wall Street’s Take
After the company announced data from its KidCOVE trial, Cowen & Co. (NASDAQ: COWN) analyst Tyler Van Buren reiterated a Buy rating on the stock but did not provide a price target.
Van Buren said that the trial data “support EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) expansions, which would likely occur in April, almost a month before Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). This could provide a strategic benefit, though is unlikely to alter the broader revenue forecast for the year.”
Additionally, Edward Tenthoff of Piper Sandler (NYSE: PIPR) maintained a Buy rating on Moderna with a $348 price target (93.7% upside potential).
In a research note to investors, Tenthoff said, “Moderna will now file for SpikeVax registration in children under six, and has already requested EUA for children aged six to 18 years.”
Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on six Buys, seven Holds and one Sell. The average MRNA price target of $274.20 implies 52.6% upside potential. Shares have lost 56.1% over the past six months.
Hedge Fund Trading Activity
TipRanks’ Hedge Fund Trading Activity tool shows that confidence in Moderna is currently Very Negative, as the cumulative change in holdings across all 15 hedge funds that were active in the last quarter was a decrease of 5.3 million shares.
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