Why an Oppenheimer Analyst Upgraded Moderna’s Stock


Hartaj Singh, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., has upgraded Moderna (MRNA) shares to “Outperform,” with a $142 price objective. Shares of the company increased by more than 13% on Tuesday following news of the upgrade. In addition to discussing his reasoning for upgrading the stock, Hartaj Singh delves deeper into Moderna’s future prospects.

In explaining his expectations for the bottoming of Covid-19 demand, Singh says, “If you believe that Covid-19 vaccine sales have… hit a bottom going forward, that essentially funds their pipeline and that pipeline is very important… there are some material catalysts that are coming.”

Despite seeing a roughly 45% decline in shares in 2023, Moderna is starting the new year on a good note. Following Oppenheimer’s upgrade to outperform, the stock is soaring today. The biotech company’s COVID-19 vaccine sales are predicted to increase in 2025, which is one of the reasons behind the decision. Analyst Hartaj Singh of Oppenheimer said, “We actually pointed to a few things that we thought were worrisome when we downgraded the stock in 2021.” Particularly in the last six to nine months, we have been ticking those boxes, beginning with the COVID-19 vaccine sales.

In the US, over 100 million shots were administered last year; this year, the number appears to be closer to 50 million. And going forward, we anticipate that trend to be the bottom through 2024. In other words, if you think that sales of COVID-19 vaccinations have peaked, that effectively finances their pipeline. We also place a lot of importance on that pipeline. Some tangible catalysts are on the horizon.

More catalysts than the companies had seen in a long time in 2024. catalyst for the RSV vaccine phase 3 and the mRNA-based next-generation influenza vaccine. vaccinations against cancer, etc. Finally, there are running expenses.

After about a year and a half in his current role, their CFO has described exactly how OpEx will now be linked to sales moving ahead. Accordingly, we anticipate that OpEx will decline in 2024 and 2025 before gradually increasing when sales begin to rise in 2025. We upgraded since the company sets up exceptionally nicely when these three boxes are checked.

The 2020 Moderna team was covering the pandemic during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. Not only Moderna, though. Gilead and Regeneron both offered drugs to aid in the pandemic’s management. And by 2021, it was evident to us just how politicized the matter had become. And that led to a great deal of exhaustion.

People were sharply divided by the conflicting narratives that were told back and forth. It therefore shifted from being a health concern to a societal one. Thus, you mix that vaccine fatigue with a large number of individuals, particularly those on the margins—that is, the great majority of people who also have the flu but receive vaccinations.

Furthermore, this year was the year that we entered the commercial market, which meant that the government was no longer only accepting orders within the US. You had to visit and make sales to 300, 400 commercial payers and more than 50 state organizations. And we think that the market actually reached this low point this year as a result of both of these factors.

I believe that we ought to start witnessing an increase with increased spending on marketing, education, and awareness. That was the flu. When you get the flu, it always occurs. More people receive the shot as the season progresses. We anticipate that COVID-19 will follow suit in the future.