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Vaccine stocks gain, Moderna and Pfizer in talks with the US on bird flu vaccines

Published 05/23/2024, 06:45 AM
Updated 05/23/2024, 11:24 AM
© Reuters Vaccine stocks gain, Moderna and Pfizer in talks with the US on bird flu vaccines
(Updated - May 23, 2024 11:20 AM EDT)

Shares of Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) and other vaccine stocks rose on Wednesday after Australia reported its first human case of avian influenza.

Moderna gained 13.7%, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) rose 3.6%, BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) jumped 11% and CureVac N.V. (CVAC) rallied 18%.

In a note to clients following the news, analysts at UBS said, "mRNA vaccines offer unprecedented speed/capabilities."

They added that while few human cases are confirmed, they note that "very little is known about the potential for human transmission and [the] broader public health risk."

UBS also noted that a "top investor inbound has been on [the] size of [the] recent stock move."

Elsewhere, Bloomberg reported that Moderna and Pfizer are in talks with the US on H5N1 bird flu vaccines.

Following the news, analysts at Jefferies put the Moderna stock move down to a flurry of events, including the Q1 beat, the short covering and unwind, the soon-to-come RSV FDA decision, ASCO PCV updates soon, and now public attention to any upside from Avian flu cases and/or any stockpile deals.

"These are all in play in the near-term while fundamentally - we're also focused on RSV approval, ACIP meeting in June and important IMS script data," said the firm.

Focusing on the avian flu cases, analysts at Jefferies said they will be watched and they reiterate that the headlines will "likely continue to impact the stock action and/or any stockpile deals may be a consideration for modest revenue contributions this year to any upside guidance impact."

Analysts at Jefferies added: "That said -- the stock action seems to already price a lot of this in on Avian flu - and more reasonably - has driven short covering - rather than any fundamental financial long-term impact."

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