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Alberto Abaterusso
Alberto Abaterusso
Articles (1390) 

Moderna Soars After Update of Its Pipeline Programs

Company makes progress on candidates for the immuno-oncology and rare disease therapeutic areas

January 09, 2019 | About:

Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) soared 4.2% to $16.95 per share on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday after the Cambridge, Massachusetts-headquartered biotechnology company had issued an update on several of its pipeline programs.

Moderna is a developer of candidates for messenger RNA-based vaccines and treatments that can be used in various therapies in immuno-oncology and rare disease areas.

The company told its shareholders the following concerning its oncology business:

  • It filed an Investigational New Drug or IND in the U.S. for the beginning of a Phase 2 cohort study of mRNA-2416 during which the synthetic molecule will be assessed on women with advanced ovarian cancer.
  • It has administered mRNA-2752 to the first patient in the Phase 1 open label, multi-center study to evaluate anti-tumor response efficacy, safety and tolerability of the agent designed as a therapy for advanced or metastatic solid tumor malignancies and lymphoma.
  • It has started planning with Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) a Phase 2 of the Personalized Cancer Vaccine study for the assessment of m-RNA-4157 in combination with Merck's KEYTRUDA.

Concerning the therapeutic business, Moderna has submitted an IND in the U.S. for a study to assess the safety and tolerability of mRNA-3704 on 3,704 pediatric patients affected with isolated Methylmalonic Acidemia. The disease is an inherited disorder in which the body cannot break down certain proteins and fats.

The share price of Moderna may increase as the company continues to develop its current pipeline and inform the market about the creation of new development candidates.

Moderna is a growing entity in the biotechnology industry with a staff of 735 full-time employees at the end of 2018 and a cash position that is expected to be strong. The company anticipates that the amount of cash on hand and securities should be approximately $1.7 billion as of Dec. 31, 2018.

The balance sheet should be strong enough to sustain the development of pipeline programs alone or in collaboration with other multinational health care companies such as Merck & Co.

GuruFocus has assigned a financial strength of 5 out of 10 to the balance sheet of Moderna.

Wall Street is recommending to buy Moderna, and the average target price of $24.38 reflects nearly 44% growth from the share price at close Tuesday.

The share price is increasing, and it has gained 11% so far this year for a market capitalization of $5.58 billion.

The 52-week range is $13.03 to $22.75. According to Yahoo Finance, the stock has a price-sales ratio of 29.11 and an enterprise value-to-revenue of 9.02.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any securities mentioned.

About the author:

Alberto Abaterusso
If somebody asks what being a value investor means, Alberto Abaterusso would answer, “The value investor is not just the possessor of the security that represents the company, but he is the owner of that company. As an owner of the company the value investor is actively involved in the dynamics of that company and his first concern is how to have sales progressively growing. Also, the value investor is probably one of the most demanding persons in the world concerning sales.”

Abaterusso is a freelance writer based in The Netherlands. He primarily writes about gold, silver and precious metals mining stocks. His articles have also been widely linked by popular sites, including MarketWatch, Financial Times, 24hGold, Investopedia, Financial.org, CNBS, MSN Money, Zachs, Reuters and others. Alberto holds an MBA from Università degli Studi di Bari (Italy), Aldo Moro.

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