Moderna Stocks Gains on Delta Efficacy, Pentagon Vaccine Mandate Reports

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Moderna, founded in 2010, could reach a $200 billion market value milestone Tuesday as shares in the vaccine maker continue their record-setting run.

Moderna  (MRNA) – Get Report shares printed a fresh record high Tuesday in active trading amid reports that its coronavirus vaccine scored a higher efficacy rate against Delta variants than that of its main Pfizer  (PFE) – Get Report-made rival.

With investors focused on full approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration — which could come before Labor Day, according to the New York Times –a medical journal has posted details of a study suggesting that not only is Moderna’s mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine more effective in preventing Delta variant infections, but it could also be used as booster shot for patients who’ve already received the two-dose regime from either Pfizer or Morderna. 

That, as well as reports the the Pentagon is prepared to mandate vaccinations for the country’s 1.3 million servicemen and women, could trigger a boost in Moderna’s near-term vaccination sales forecasts, which last week were pegged at around $20 billion. 

“We are pleased that our COVID-19 vaccine is showing durable efficacy of 93% through six months”, CEO Stéphane Bancel told investors last week, “But recognize that the Delta variant is a significant new threat so we must remain vigilant.”

Moderna shares were marked 1% higher in early trading Tuesday to change hands at $488.30 each after hitting an all-time high of $497.17 earlier in the session that extended the stock’s year-to-date gain to around 374% and pegged its market value at just under $200 billion. 

Shares closed at an all-time high Monday after winning provisional approval from the Australian government

Pfizer shares, meanwhile, edged 0.6% higher to trade at $46.27 each. 

Last week, Moderna posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings of $6.46 per share, up from a 31 cents per share loss for the same period last year, as vaccine sales surged to $4.2 billion.

In a separate statement, Moderna noted that studies indicate its coronavirus vaccine remains close to its original 94% efficacy rate some six months after the second dose, but added that booster shots might still be necessary for the winter flu season.

Pfizer, for its part, said sales of its BNT162b2 vaccine, which it developed alongside its German partner, BioNTech  (BNTX) – Get Report, could reach $33.5 billion this year as it boosted it 2021 earnings forecast to between $3.95 and $4.05 per share, 

William Murphy

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