Letters to the Editor — Aug. 9, 2021
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Shares of Moderna and BioNTech both skyrocketed on Monday amid growing enthusiasm over technology used in their coronavirus vaccines and its potential to help fight other ailments like cancer and malaria.
Monday’s rally came after BioNTech told investors on an earnings call that it’s pushing forward with plans for human trials for flu and malaria vaccines — as well as for cancer treatments.
The trials will rely on messenger RNA technology, or mRNA — a new type of vaccine used to protect against the coronavirus that may also have the potential to solve challenges in vaccine development for other infectious diseases and cancer.
Both BioNTech and Moderna currently use mRNA technology in their coronavirus vaccines.
Shares of Massachussetts-based Moderna soared 17 percent to end the day at $484.47, while Germany’s BioNTech closed 14.9 percent higher at $447.23.
BioNTech also reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results, posting $6.24 billion in second quarter sales compared to analysts expectations of $3.83, according to Investors Business Daily. The company expects to deliver a whopping 2.2 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine this year.
The potential to cure ailments that kill millions of humans each year has left investors salivating. BioNTech stock has risen an eye-watering 422 percent since the beginning of 2021, while Moderna stock is up 333 percent, according to MarketWatch data.
The COVID-19 vaccines are the only marketed products commercially available from either company — but Moderna and BioNTech have said that mRNA technology has the potential to treat cancer, malaria and other diseases.
Pfizer, which developed a coronavirus vaccine alongside BioNTech, saw its shares climb a far more modest 1.5 percent on Monday and 24 percent since the beginning of the year. Pfizer is also far more diversified than its peers with a wide slate of commercially available drugs.
In a note shared with The Post, Jefferies managing director Michael Yee said Moderna “continues to trade like the ‘Tesla of Biotech’” — meaning the stock has a massive valuation based on high investor expectations about its future.
Moderna is “an innovation and disruption technology play,” Yee added, due to the company’s mRNA technology having the potential to supplant traditional medical treatments and create new vaccines.
Moderna was added to the S&P 500 index last month, helping to further boost the stock.
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