Pfizer: The Pace of COVID-19 Vaccine Development Is Remarkable, Says Analyst

The recent coronavirus vaccine race has been fraught with setbacks. Both Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson recently halted their respective COVID-19 vaccine programs due to a participant’s unexplained reactions.

There appears to be no such trouble right now for a fellow pharma heavyweight seeking to be first to market with a viable solution.

On Friday, Pfizer (PFE) said that based on interim data, by the end of October it hopes to find out whether its COVID-19 vaccine – developed in collaboration with BioNTech (BNTX) - is effective or not.

Moreover, by mid-November it hopes to have enough safety and manufacturing data available to present to the FDA an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) application.

Mizuho analyst Vamil Divan calls the pace of Pfizer’s vaccine development “remarkable.”

“We commend the management team for their transparency during this accelerated development program,” Divan said. “Overall, things appear very much on track and the speed in potentially getting this vaccine to market is much faster than we would have expected when the pandemic started... The speed with which Pfizer has moved to develop this vaccine candidate is encouraging to us, and suggests Pfizer may be able to meet its stated objectives of being a faster moving, more nimble biopharmaceutical company, especially once the pending sale of their Upjohn division is completed.”

Divan estimates the vaccine could generate sales of $2 billion in 2020-2021 combined, before sales decrease to between $550-600 million from 2024 onwards.

However, with various deals similar to the one with the US government in place with several developed countries, pending regulatory approval, sales could actually exceed $8.5 billion between 2020-2021.

The additional sales, Divan notes, “would still be meaningful even to a company of Pfizer's size and would provide Pfizer with additional options in terms of investing in their business, pursuing acquisition or licensing opportunities, or returning cash to shareholders.”

Overall, Divan has a Buy rating on PFE shares alongside a $43 price target. What’s in it for investors? A ~14% upside from current levels. (To watch Divan’s track record, click here)

Overall, based on 3 Buys and 8 Holds, the analyst consensus rates the stock a Moderate Buy. With an average price target of $41.21, the analysts except shares to add 9% in the months ahead. (See Pfizer stock analysis on TipRanks)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.