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Moderna (MRNA) to Report Q4 Earnings: What's in the Cards?

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Moderna, Inc. (MRNA - Free Report) is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2019 results on Feb 26, before market open. In the last reported quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 13.95%.

Moderna’s share price has declined 6.7% in the past year compared with the industry’s decrease of 1.8%.

Let’s see how things have shaped up for this announcement.

Factors to Note

Moderna does not have any marketed products in its portfolio. It derives revenues from its collaboration partners using its messenger RNA (mRNA) technology for development of therapies targeting different indications. These revenues depend on achievement of certain clinical development milestones by partnered pipeline candidates and can vary every quarter. In the first three quarters of 2019, revenues declined year over year due to lower collaboration revenues across all its strategic alliances, particularly with AstraZeneca AZN and Merck MRK. We do not expect any improvement in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Moderna has 21 mRNA investigational candidates in its pipeline with 13 candidates in clinical development stage. With several ongoing pre-clinical and clinical studies, operating expenses increased year over year in the first nine months of 2019. We expect operating expense to have increased in the soon-to-be-reported quarter as well.

We note that the company has enough funds to continue its research activities. The company ended the September quarter with $1.34 billion in cash, cash equivalents and investments and expects to end the year with approximately $1.20 billion.

Last month, Moderna announced a new partnership with Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (“CEPI”) to develop a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China.The company is also working with NIAID to develop the 2019-nCoV vaccine.

Investors are likely to have questions on the progress of Moderna’s pipeline candidates, especially coronavirus vaccine candidate, on its fourth-quarter earnings call.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for Moderna this season. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of an earnings beat. But that’s not the case here. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Earnings ESP: Moderna has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% because both the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are pegged at a loss of 39 cents.  You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: Moderna currently has a Zacks Rank #2.

A Stock That Warrants a Look

Here is a biotech stock that you may want to consider, as our model shows that it has the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat in its upcoming releases.

Vericel Corporation VCEL has an Earnings ESP of +11.29% and a Zacks Rank #1. The company is scheduled to release fourth-quarter results on Feb 25. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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