Shares of Moderna (MRNA 2.58%) rose 6.8% on Friday, as analysts and investors grew more optimistic about the vaccine maker's growth prospects.
Piper Sandler analyst Edward Tenthoff repeated his overweight rating on Moderna's stock and boosted his price forecast from $208 to $234 on Thursday. His new price target represents potential returns to shareholders of roughly 37% from Moderna's current share price near $170.
Tenthoff noted that data from a phase 3 study showed Moderna's authorized coronavirus vaccine, mRNA-1273, continued to demonstrate efficacy against COVID-19 of more than 90% after six months. That bodes well for sales of the drug; Tenthoff projects that Moderna will generate mRNA-1273 revenue of $10.85 billion in 2021 and $15.75 billion in 2022.
Tenthoff also praised Moderna's "rich pipeline" of mRNA-based drugs. The biotech currently has 14 vaccine candidates in clinical trials.
Investors have bid up Moderna's shares after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked states to temporarily halt immunizations with Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, while they investigated cases of blood clots in people who were administered the drug. With global COVID-19 cases rising rapidly around the world and safety concerns about rival vaccines mounting, demand for Moderna's coronavirus vaccine could soar. Its stock, in turn, appears set to reward shareholders with even more gains in the months ahead.