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Dec 10, 2020

Tesla-backed vaccine stock gets first sell after 752% rally

Health workers store blood samples in dry ice during clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine.

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(Bloomberg) -- CureVac NV has been on a wild ride since its August listing, as the hunt for COVID-19 shots pushed its valuation up eight-fold to US$24 billion before Thursday’s open. With the first authorized U.S. inoculations expected soon, the biotech’s heady climb spurred its first sell rating.

Despite promising early results, data from larger CureVac studies aren’t expected until the first half of 2021, making the company a “late mover” in the vaccine chase, Credit Suisse analyst Martin Auster said, dropping his rating to underperform from neutral, but increasing his price target to US$50 from US$47.

Like the leading COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE, as well as Moderna Inc., CureVac’s shot uses messenger-RNA technology. But early data suggest the German company’s shot “could struggle to reach the efficacy bar set by peers,” Auster wrote in a note.

CureVac still has some heavy-hitters in its corner, including Elon Musk. The Tesla Inc. chief executive has touted the biotech company it is partnered with to build RNA microfactories, calling the vaccine printer the duo is working on an “important product for the world.”

CureVac is down as much as 9.7 per cent from Wednesday’s record high. Three other analysts recommend buying the stock, while a fourth says hold.

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