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Stock Analyst Update

AstraZeneca Reports Good Confirmatory Vaccine Data

The overall strong innovation seen with the vaccine and pipeline reinforces our conviction in the firm’s wide moat.

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In tandem with its investor day, AstraZeneca (AZNCF) reported updated U.S. phase 3 data for its COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222, which showed slightly lower efficacy than data presented earlier. Overall, we don’t expect any changes to our fair value estimate based on the updated COVID-19 vaccine data and the pipeline updates at the investor day. However, the overall strong innovation seen with the vaccine and pipeline reinforces our conviction in the firm’s wide moat.

 The updated COVID-19 vaccine data includes a larger data set and shows an efficacy rate of 76% in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, which is slightly lower than the 79% rate previously announced. The vaccine continued to show 100% protection against severe disease and strong efficacy in elderly volunteers. The overall data for the vaccine looks largely favorable and fairly similar to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but potentially slightly inferior to vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. We continue to expect the Food and Drug Administration to authorize Astra’s vaccine in April or May.

Turning to the investor day and updates on the respiratory, immunology, and cardiometabolic pipeline, Astra is making strides in targeting areas of unmet medical need. By late 2021, we believe the most impactful events are phase 3 Farxiga data in preserved heart failure (higher risk of approval) and potential regulatory approvals for anifrolumab in lupus (higher risk of approval), roxadustat in kidney disease in the United States (medium risk of approval), and tezepelumab in asthma (lower risk of approval). Longer term, we are encouraged by the robustness of the company’s early-stage pipeline, and opportunities to create combinations with Farxiga look well positioned to treat several large cardiometabolic indications where unmet medical need remains high. Also, while cancer drugs were not a focus of the investor update, we continue to be most bullish on Astra’s oncology platform, which looks well positioned for growth. 

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Damien Conover does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

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