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Stock Analyst Update

Early Moderna Data Supports Vaccine by 2021

We're not expecting any changes to our fair value estimates for vaccine manufacturers, however, as most of the firms in our coverage with vaccine candidates have already stated that selling prices would be at a not-for-profit level.

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Editor’s note:  Read the latest on how the coronavirus is rattling the markets and what investors can do to navigate it.

Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Pfizer (PFE), AstraZeneca (AZN), and several other vaccine makers are all racing to develop a critically needed vaccine for the coronavirus. While we don’t expect the vaccine development to impact moats or valuations for the large cap drug firms, a vaccine holds the potential to reopen normal activities globally.

Moderna kicked off the early data around the vaccine race and released the first data from its phase 1 trial of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine mRNA-1273 on May 18, in conjunction with data supporting efficacy of the vaccine in mice. This first data is encouraging, as the vaccine is producing the sort of efficacy and tolerability profile in humans that would allow for FDA approval, as long as additional data continues to confirm this profile. We think this strongly supports the idea that Moderna's vaccine is capable of protecting individuals against the virus, although we have yet to see data showing whether this efficacy is also seen in older adults, and long-term safety data will continue to be collected (for one to two years in a phase 3 trial).

We continue to assume that a vaccine (from Moderna or other vaccine developers, such as Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca) will be available for high-risk populations later this year based on phase 2 data, with tens of millions of doses from various vaccine manufacturers available by the end of 2020. We assume broader approval in early 2021 based on early data from phase 3 studies and supply for broader vaccination in the first half of 2021. We're not expecting any changes to our fair value estimates for vaccine manufacturers, however, as most of the firms in our coverage with SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates have already stated that selling prices would be at a not-for-profit level.

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Karen Andersen does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.