Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine Gets Green Light From Israel; Shares Gain

Moderna announced that Israel’s Ministry of Health has granted authorization for the use of its COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273). Shares advanced 1.7% in Tuesday’s pre-market trading.

Israel’s Ministry of Health’s decision is based on a rolling submission of data and scientific evidence shared by Moderna (MRNA), including data analysis from the pivotal Phase 3 clinical study released on November 30. Israel has secured 6 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and the first deliveries are expected to be rolled out shortly.

Israel is now the third country that has authorized the use of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. On December 18, the US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization of Moderna’s vaccine for active immunization in individuals 18 years of age and older. Furthermore, Health Canada authorized the company’s vaccine on December 23.

Currently, additional authorizations for the vaccine are under review in the European Union, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is co-developed with investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Vaccine Research Center. The vaccine’s late stage trial demonstrated efficacy of 94.1% against COVID-19.

On Monday, Moderna increased its base-case COVID-19 vaccine global production estimate by 100 million doses to 600 million doses for 2021. The company continues to invest and add staff to deliver up to 1 billion doses for 2021. It expects about 100 million doses to be available in the US by the end of the first quarter of 2021, with 200 million doses expected by the second quarter.

Moderna shares skyrocketed 434% in 2020. The average price target of $148.31 suggests upside potential of 32.7% from current levels. Currently, the Street has a cautiously optimistic outlook on Moderna. The Moderate Buy analyst consensus is based on 7 Buys, 7 Holds and 2 Sells.

On Monday, Piper Sandler analyst Edward Tenthoff reiterated a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $166. The analyst believes that Moderna shares warrant a “fresh look” at the current market capitalization of $41 billion. The 5-star analyst stated in a note to investors “Importantly, we believe Moderna’s rich pipeline is validated with multiple blockbuster vaccines in development.”

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