Healthcare stocks Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) have initiated a clinical study of a COVID-19 vaccine for the Omicron variant. The study, which has enrolled healthy adults aged between 18 and 55, will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of the Omicron-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The study will use some participants from the healthcare companies’ Phase 3 COVID-19 booster study to determine whether variant-based vaccines are needed.
Senior Vice President and Head of Vaccine Research & Development at Pfizer, Kathrin U. Jansen, said, “While current research and real-world data show that boosters continue to provide a high level of protection against severe disease and hospitalization with Omicron, we recognize the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address Omicron and new variants in the future.”
Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said, “This study is part of our science-based approach to develop a variant-based vaccine that achieves a similar level of protection against Omicron as it did with earlier variants but with a longer duration of protection.”
The companies’ COVID-19 vaccine has marketing approval in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and the E.U., among others.
Headquartered in New York, Pfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for immunology, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, and neurology.
The company’s shares were trading 1.3% higher at the time of writing in the pre-market session on Wednesday.
Wall Street’s Take
Recently, BMO Capital analyst Evan Seigerman maintained a Buy rating on the stock and raised the price target to $76 from $60 (44.7% upside potential).
In a research note to investors, the analyst said, “Pfizer could be the first pharma company to break $100 billion revenues boosted by Paxlovid sales this year.”
Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 9 Buys and 10 Holds. The average Pfizer price target of $59.83 implies nearly 14% upside potential. Shares have gained 50.6% over the past year.
Hedge Fund Activity
TipRanks data shows that Wall Street’s top hedge funds have increased their holdings in Pfizer by 4.4 million shares in the last quarter, indicating Very Positive hedge fund confidence in the stock.
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