- Moderna stock surged as much as 17% in early Wednesday trading after the company announced an early coronavirus vaccine trial produced antibodies in all participants.
- A range of dosages induced immune responses in all 45 Phase 1 trial patients and was “generally safe and well-tolerated,” Moderna said in a press release.
- The company plans to start a 30,000-participant Phase 3 study on July 27 “to demonstrate our vaccine’s ability to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease,” CEO Stephane Bancel said.
- The optimistic trial news also pushed the broader market higher as traders bet on a sooner-than-expected vaccine rollout.
- Watch Moderna trade live here.
Results published Tuesday afternoon in The New England Journal of Medicine expanded on positive preliminary data released in May. Participants received two doses of the experimental vaccine of varying dosages. The mRNA-1273 vaccine induced immune responses in all 45 patients and was “generally safe and well-tolerated,” Moderna said in a press release.
Scientists at the US National Institutes of Health said the results supported further research on the vaccine.
The Phase 1 trial data are “encouraging and represent an important step forward,” CEO Stephane Bancel said in the release. Moderna plans to start a 30,000-person Phase 3 study on July 27 “to demonstrate our vaccine’s ability to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease,” he added.
The optimistic trial news, coupled with a strong earnings beat from Goldman Sachs, lifted the broader stock market Wednesday morning.
Participants in Moderna’s Phase 1 trial received either a low, medium, or high dose of the vaccine. Moderna is advancing its medium dose – comprised of 100 micrograms – to upcoming tests. If future studies show similarly positive results, the company plans to deliver roughly 500 million doses in 2020 and up to 1 billion doses the following year.
While the study showed a safe immune response in humans, it didn’t reveal whether the vaccine can dependably protect recipients from the coronavirus. It is not yet known how many antibodies are needed to build up such protection.
The biotech company’s shares have more than quadrupled in 2020 as investors bet on its experimental virus vaccine to be the first to gain regulatory approval. Other firms gunning to introduce the first effective COVID-19 treatment, including Pfizer,Gilead, and Novavax, have seen similar volatility in recent months.
The latter firm was awarded $US1.6 billion in funding from the US government to develop and produce its own coronavirus vaccine. Novavax shares leaped as much as 41% on the news. The grant was the largest yet made through “Operation Warp Speed,” the White House’s plan to fast-track delivery of a pandemic-beating vaccine. Novavax aims to begin Phase 3 trials in the fall and deliver 100 million doses by the end of the year if the studies are successful.
Moderna closed at $US75.04 on Tuesday, up 344% year-to-date.
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