Shares of Moderna (MRNA) are up 10% this morning to as high as $364 during the pre-market session, after the company said that it could rapidly advance design and testing for an Omicron-specific booster shot and have it available by early 2022 in commercial quantities.
Moderna's chief medical officer told the BBC that "We should know about the ability of the current vaccine to provide protection in the next couple of weeks."
"If we have to make a brand new vaccine, I think that's going to be early 2022 before that's really going to be available in large quantities," he said, while noting "The remarkable thing about the mRNA vaccines - the Moderna platform - is that we can move very fast."
Indeed, this is one of the competitive sticking points that I've mentioned numerous times in the past, why I thought Moderna was being undervalued by Wall Street.
We're up around 63% on the position added on November 5, and 175% on the original position from March 4.
In my opinion, analysts are not taking into account the company's ability to rapidly turn out new vaccines, not just for COVID mutations but for cancers and other serious ailments that are in the company's vaccine development pipeline.
As far as buying the stock, I'd proceed carefully at this point. The time to buy the shares at a heavy discount, such as November 5 when I wrote "Moderna: Perfect Time for Adding a Position," are in the rear-view mirror for the moment.
That's not to say the stock couldn't proceed higher from here.
It's just that - as Moderna's chief medical officer noted to the BBC - no one knows yet if the current vaccines are effective against the new variant. If it turns out that that is indeed the case, then some of the buying fervor for MRNA may evaporate.
Also, if MRNA opens at $360 this morning, it will have completely "filled the gap" (actually 2 gaps) created in late October/earliest November when the stock plunged after releasing a Q3 earnings report that missed analysts' estimates.
In other words, it's a natural spot where some traders might choose to take windfall profits, since the stock is up more than 60% in the last 10 trading sessions.
Best of goodBUYs,