Why is Moderna still so pricey?
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|
|AZD8601||Myocardial ischaemia therapy||282||0%|
|mRNA-4157||Personalised cancer vaccine||97||0%|
|mRNA-2752||OX40L/IL-23/IL-36y for solid tumours/lymphoma||775||0%|
|mRNA-3927||Propionic acidaemia therapy||276||0%|
|Source: Evaluate Pharma.|
|Top 10 biopharma companies by market cap|
|Market cap ($bn)*|
Johnson & Johnson
Merck & Co
Bristol Myers Squibb
|Source: Yahoo Finance *as at August 11.|