Healthcare Business

Moderna's Next Big Step in the Race to a COVID-19 Vaccine

Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) made another big step forward in the fight against COVID-19 after the company reported incredibly positive data from the early-stage trial of its coronavirus vaccine. Investors cheered these results, sending shares much higher.

In terms of the specifics, the company reported results from its Phase 1 trial of MRNA-1273. The vaccine candidate induced antibody reactions in all 45 patient participants in the trial. Note that there were no serious side effects.

The most commonly reported systemic adverse events following second vaccination were fatigue (80%), chills (80%), headache (60%) and myalgia (53%), all of which were transient and mild or moderate in severity.

Ultimately, these uniform results give Moderna the opportunity at a larger study of roughly 30,000 patients. This study is set to begin on July 27.

The study was led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Moderna is working closely with Operation Warp Speed and the NIH, including NIAID’s COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network, to conduct its Phase 3 COVE study.

Moderna has completed manufacture of the vaccine required to start the Phase 3 study. With the Phase 3 dose being finalized, the company remains on track to be able to deliver roughly 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year.

Note that earlier this week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that two of their COVID-19 vaccines had been fast-tracked by the FDA. From the looks of it, the race is on between these two companies and Moderna.

Moderna stock traded up about 12% at $83.94, in a 52-week range of $11.54 to $88.35. The consensus price target is $91.90.