Biotechnology company Moderna (MRNA) revealed that patient dosing has begun in its Phase 1/2 study of quadrivalent seasonal influenza mRNA vaccine candidate mRNA-1010. Its shares closed nearly 5% lower on Wednesday and fell another 2.7% in pre-market trading on Thursday.
The company develops vaccines and therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, rare diseases, immuno-oncology and infectious diseases.
The study, which will enroll 180 healthy adults, will check the immunogenicity, reactogenicity and safety of the candidate. (See Moderna stock chart on TipRanks)
mRNA-1010 is the company’s first seasonal influenza vaccine candidate that has achieved the World Health Organization’s clinic and targets lineages for the prevention of influenza, including influenza B Yamagata, Victoria, seasonal influenza A H1N1 and H3N2.
The CEO of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, said, “We expect that our seasonal influenza vaccine candidates will be an important component of our future combination respiratory vaccines. Our vision is to develop an mRNA combination vaccine so that people can get one shot each fall for high efficacy protection against the most problematic respiratory viruses.”
On July 7, Piper Sandler analyst Edward Tenthoff maintained a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $246 (10.9% upside potential). In a research note to investors, the analyst said, “Moderna could revolutionize the seasonal flu vaccine market where today’s protection rates are only 40%-60%.”
Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 7 Buys, 4 Holds and 2 Sells. The average Moderna price target of $192.8 implies 13.1% downside potential. The company’s shares have gained 260.3% over the past year.
According to TipRanks’ Smart Score rating system, Moderna scores a “Perfect 10,” suggesting that the stock is likely to outperform market averages.
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