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Good news...GO MRNA

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Zitroja Group   Monday, 06/01/20 02:24:36 PM
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Good news...GO MRNA

Moderna's Covid-19 Vaccine Enters Next Phase of Testing.
Goldman Sachs 9:07 AM ET 6/1/20

The biotech company Moderna has dosed the first of 600 volunteers in the next phase of testing for its vaccine against the Covid-19 virus, saying Friday that it gave the vaccine to people in each of the two groups it will test -- adults under 55 and those older.

Goldman Sachs analyst Salveen Richter expressed optimism about the vaccine in a Monday note. She reiterated her Buy recommendation on the stock and said she thinks the vaccine test has a 75% probability of success.

The Goldman analyst thinks Moderna shares (ticker: MRNA) are worth $105 apiece. In premarket trading Monday, the stock was up 2% to $62.90.

Moderna shares have ridden a roller coaster since it disclosed a bit of data two weeks ago on eight patients in the first phase of its vaccine's trials. It said that the patients developed antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19, in amounts that were comparable to the levels that protected lab mice from the disease. The vaccine appeared safe.

"[W]e remain optimistic on the initial results," said Richter in her note. She expects Moderna's collaborators at the National Institutes of Health to publish a peer-reviewed report on the Phase 1 study this month.

The biotech company will host a "science day" on Tuesday to review its technology. Moderna's vaccine uses genetic instructions to cause human cells to express harmless pieces of the Covid virus, which then provoke antibodies that will, if all goes well, fend off the real thing. The company's product is the furthest advanced of several that use this novel approach. Other biopharma companies such as Merck (MRK) are developing more traditional vaccines against Covid.

The Phase 2 study of Moderna's vaccine will test two dose levels of the product on 300 volunteers in each of the two age groups. After a month, they'll get a booster shot. On a fast-track schedule, NIH and Moderna will start a pivotal Phase 3 trial in July, based on what they learn about dosing this month.

Moderna hopes to ask for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next year. To produce a vaccine in volumes of up to a billion doses a year, the little company has made arrangements with Swiss-based Lonza Group (LZAGY).

With other vaccines under development for Ebola and other viral diseases, Moderna could surpass $10 billion in revenue by 2022, predicts the Goldman analyst. That would yield earnings of $4.72 a share, she estimates.



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