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CureVac's Potential Has Wall Street Sending Mixed Signals

By Rich Duprey - Apr 26, 2021 at 12:54PM

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The biotech still has a long way to go to prove itself and justify its current stock valuation.

While there seems general acknowledgment that CureVac (CVAC -1.05%) can still win a seat at the COVID-19 vaccine table -- and arguably, take up a lot of room at that table -- Wall Street remains largely unimpressed by the biotech at the moment.

Analysts from both Guggenheim Securities and Credit Suisse (CS -2.28%) weighed in on CureVac Monday, and neither saw its outlook as being especially robust.

Technician testing sample under microscope

Image source: Getty Images.

Guggenheim analyst Seamus Fernandez initiated coverage on CureVac with a neutral rating, but didn't assign a price target to the stock; Credit Suisse's Tiago Fauth began coverage with an underperform rating and a price target of $50, which is some 57% below where the stock closed Friday.

In his note to investors, Fernandez said that it has been less than a year since CureVac went public, and assuming its COVID-19 vaccine is actually effective, the biotech could "evolve from a research driven mRNA company to a fully integrated biopharma vaccine manufacturer and developer" taking a modest amount of market share.

CureVac has developed a messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine similar to those of Moderna (MRNA 3.73%) and Pfizer (PFE -1.28%) and BioNTech (BNTX 2.24%), but one that has a longer shelf life at standard refrigerator temperatures. It can be stored for up to three months in refrigeration compared to 30 days for Moderna's mRNA-1273, and just five days for Pfizer and BioNTech's BNT162b2.

It's the long-term potential for mRNA vaccines like CureVac's that Fernandez is looking at. He believes they will be the predominant form of protection from the coronavirus. The problem for investors is that one can't accurately assign a value to CureVac. The company's just too early in its lifecycle to make a definitive declaration.

Credit Suisse's Fauth had no such compunctions about putting a number on CureVac, but the investment bank has held dour views on it for some time. In December, Credit Suisse suggested CureVac's vaccine was inferior to its rivals' vaccines, and that the  biotech stock sported a valuation that was much too rich for it to justify.

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Stocks Mentioned

CureVac N.V. Stock Quote
CureVac N.V.
CVAC
$14.09 (-1.05%) $0.15
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
PFE
$51.64 (-1.28%) $0.67
Credit Suisse Group AG Stock Quote
Credit Suisse Group AG
CS
$5.57 (-2.28%) $0.13
Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
MRNA
$155.54 (3.73%) $5.59
BioNTech SE Stock Quote
BioNTech SE
BNTX
$161.03 (2.24%) $3.53

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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