Why is Moderna still so pricey?

Snippets

New safety concerns in Europe over Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine Spikevax and a respected pharma analyst calling the group’s valuation ridiculous might have knocked $29bn off the biotech’s market cap, but Moderna is still worth a staggering $155.5bn. Yesterday’s 16% pullback still leaves the company's shares at $385 each, up more than fivefold since the beginning of the year, something that the Bank of America analyst Geoff Meacham, with his $115 price target, believes is unjustifiable. A look at Moderna’s pipeline appears to confirm this; the combined NPV of its products is only $27.1bn, according to Evaluate Pharma. This is a far cry from Moderna’s valuation, which is higher than Amgen's or Bristol Myers Squibb’s, whose product NPVs are respectively $109.8bn and $187.5bn. While the true potential of mRNA might not have been tapped, most of Moderna’s pipeline remains early stage, and is in competitive areas like flu and RSV, or in tropical diseases. Additionally, current Covid-19 vaccine sales, the main driver of Moderna’s recent performance, are forecast to fall to just $2bn in 2026. The company is also unlikely to deliver a 100% pipeline success rate, leaving the question of why Moderna shares have not corrected further.

Moderna products by NPV
Product Treatment area Today's NPV ($m) NPV as % of share price
Marketed
Spikevax Covid-19 vaccine 20,199 13%
Phase 2
mRNA-1647 Cytomegalovirus vaccine 2,484 2%
AZD8601 Myocardial ischaemia therapy 282 0%
mRNA-4157 Personalised cancer vaccine 97 0%
Phase 1
mRNA-1345 RSV vaccine 2,002 1%
mRNA-2752 OX40L/IL-23/IL-36y for solid tumours/lymphoma 775 0%
mRNA-1653 hMPV/PIV3 vaccine 529 0%
mRNA-3927 Propionic acidaemia therapy 276 0%
mRNA-1893 Zika vaccine 252 0%
mRNA-1944 Chikungunya anti-viral 5 0%
mRNA-5671 Kras vaccine 1 0%
Preclinical
mRNA-3283 Phenylketonuria therapy 208 0%
Total  27,110 18%
Source: Evaluate Pharma.

 

Top 10 biopharma companies by market cap 
Rank
Company 
Market cap ($bn)*
1
Johnson & Johnson
$457.5bn
2
Roche
$345.6bn
3
Pfizer
$259.2bn
4
Lilly
$252.6bn
5
Novo Nordisk
$230.9bn
6
Novartis
$206.9bn
7
Merck & Co
$190.4bn
8
Astrazeneca
$175.4bn
9
Moderna
$155.5bn
10
Bristol Myers Squibb
$148.6bn
Source: Yahoo Finance *as at August 11.

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