Shares of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) — which rose to prominence with its Covid-19 vaccine — are jumping on Wednesday. Disclosing encouraging results for its mRNA-based flu shot, the biotech company may have the opportunity to pivot beyond its Covid vaccine. Subsequently, this news may bolster support for MRNA stock, which has struggled this year.
According to Bloomberg, Moderna recently announced that a reformulated version of its flu shot “met its primary goals in a final-stage trial.” As a result, the development could pave the way for the firm to seek regulatory approval for the vaccine.
Specifically, the trial involved over 2,400 adults. In the trial, “the reformulated shot produced a stronger immune response against all four strains of the influenza virus than a traditional flu vaccine.” Further, side effects were “similar to previous trials of the vaccine.” The clinical trial analyzed antibody levels against the flu but did not directly assess efficacy in preventing symptoms.
Now, the comparative effect is helping lift MRNA stock. Per Investor’s Business Daily, Moderna put its flu shot up against already licensed flu shots from both GSK (NYSE:GSK) and Sanofi (NASDAQ:SNY). According to the company, its vaccine generated a higher level of antibodies than the competition.
MRNA Stock Rises on Diversification Hopes
Of course, Moderna played a significant role in the global effort against Covid-19. However, as fears of Covid and the pandemic have faded away, so has the prominence of MRNA stock. As of this writing, shares are down about 40% year-to-date (YTD).
Accordingly, these trial results couldn’t have come at a better time for shares of MRNA. With a flu vaccine, Moderna can leverage its acumen developed during the pandemic to foster new growth avenues. According to Yahoo Finance, the company’s trailing 12-month ($14.77 billion, still a good bit below 2022’s haul of $19.26 billion.) revenue currently sits at
Even better, Moderna is planning to address a range of other diseases as it preps for another Phase 3 trial. Per TipRanks, Moderna will collaborate with pharmaceutical giant Merck (NYSE:MRK) to develop mRNA-4157, a personalized cancer vaccine that will target non-small cell lung cancer.
Unsurprisingly, given the news, MRNA currently represents one of the highlights for unusual stock options volume.
Why It Matters
Right now, Wall Street analysts peg MRNA stock as a consensus moderate buy. This assessment breaks down as seven buys, six holds and one sell rating. Overall, the average price target lands at $167.79 per share, implying about 55% upside potential.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.