Pfizer Inc (PFE) said that it had launched a pilot delivery program for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in 4 US states, while the company attempts to deal with distribution challenges related with the vaccine’s frigid storage requirements.
The vaccine, which has proven to be more than 90% effective against the COVID-19 disease based on preliminary results, needs to be shipped and stored at a temperature of -70 degrees Celsius. In comparison, the standard storage temperatures for other vaccines range between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
Pfizer shares closed higher for the fifth time in the past ten trading sessions in New York on Tuesday. The stock went up 1.85% ($0.65) to $36.04, after touching an intraday high at $36.50, or a price level not seen since November 13th ($36.68).
Shares of Pfizer Inc have retreated 8.01% so far in 2020 compared with an 11.72% gain for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).
In 2019, Pfizer Inc’s stock went down 10.24%, thus, it again underperformed the S&P 500, which registered a 28.88% gain.
Four states, including Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico and Tennessee, were picked for the delivery program, after the US drug maker took into consideration their differences in overall size, population diversity, immunization infrastructure among other factors.
Under the terms of the $1.95 billion deal between Pfizer and BioNTech, the two companies will supply 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the US government.
“We are hopeful that results from this vaccine delivery pilot will serve as the model for other U.S. states and international governments, as they prepare to implement effective COVID-19 vaccine programs,” Pfizer Inc said in a statement, cited by Reuters.
Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation
According to CNN Money, the 16 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Pfizer Inc’s stock price, have a median target of $41.50, with a high estimate of $53.00 and a low estimate of $35.00. The median estimate represents a 15.15% upside compared to the closing price of $36.04 on November 17th.
The same media also reported that at least 12 out of 20 surveyed investment analysts had rated Pfizer Inc’s stock as “Hold”, while 7 – as “Buy”.