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Stock Analyst Update

BioNTech and Pfizer Report Good News From Vaccine Trial

A long road lies ahead as the trial continues, but we are maintaining our fair value estimates for the two healthcare firms.

On July 1, partners BioNTech (BNTX) and Pfizer (PFE) reported positive early data for one of four vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2. The data from an ongoing U.S. trial demonstrated promising antibody responses with good safety data for the two lower doses of the vaccine candidate, BNT162b1. We are maintaining our fair values for no-moat BioNTech and wide-moat Pfizer at $40 per ADR and $42.50 per share, respectively.

In the phase 1/2 trial, all 24 patients that received the two lower doses (10 micrograms and 30 micrograms) showed elevated antibody levels, and those responses, on average, were above the levels observed in the comparison panel of 38 patients that had naturally contracted SARS-CoV-2. We don’t yet know what level of immunity is needed for protection against the virus, but to see an immune response above what is observed in patients that naturally contracted the virus is a promising start. Further, side effects in patients that received the two lower doses were mild to moderate and quickly resolved. These included local pain at the injection site, fever, headaches, and fatigue. The highest dose, 100 micrograms, was dropped following heightened side effects after the initial dose. We’re encouraged by the results from the two lower doses--both the efficacy observed and the absence of serious side effects.

We expect data for the remaining three candidates over the coming weeks, which will allow the partners to select a lead candidate to move forward into a large phase 2b/3 trial, which may start as early as July 2020. BioNTech and Pfizer continue to ramp up manufacturing capacity, with plans to produce up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and over 1.2 billion by the end of 2021.

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Anna Baran does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.