Biotech Stock Price Launches Higher on Coronavirus Vaccine Test
February 24 2020 - Moderna Stock Rockets As Biotech Plans To Test Coronavirus Vaccine By Investors Business Daily
Moderna (MRNA) shipped the first batch of an experimental coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government on Monday — sending MRNA stock rocketing in after-hours action.
In preparation for a clinical test, Moderna sent hundreds of coronavirus vaccine vials to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Maryland, according to the Wall Street Journal. The institute is planning to test the drug in 20-25 healthy volunteers by the end of April.
The institute is hoping two shots of the experimental drug will ward off the new coronavirus, called Covid-19. So far, the virus has sickened about 80,000 people. Roughly 2,600 of those people have died due to the illness, which causes respiratory problems like pneumonia.
In after-hours trading on the stock market today, MRNA stock rocketed nearly 16% to 21.50. During the regular session, shares of Gilead Sciences (GILD) jumped after a World Health Organization official said Gilead's coronavirus treatment could be the best candidate.
MRNA Stock Rockets On Coronavirus Vaccine
Moderna's and Gilead's approaches to the coronavirus are different. Gilead is attempting to treat patients already infected with the disease. It's using an experimental Ebola virus drug. Moderna is making a coronavirus vaccine which could prevent the disease.
U.S. researchers could have clinical results for Moderna's coronavirus vaccine in July or August. The biotech company isn't alone in seeking to prevent coronavirus. Vaccine programs are also underway at Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Novavax (NVAX) and Vaxart (VXRT).
But Moderna is the first to accelerate its coronavirus vaccine into human testing — helping MRNA stock to jump. It's important to note this would be a Phase 1 test. Pharma and biotech companies typically have to pass three clinical studies and then a regulatory review before a drug gains approval.
Moderna's technology relies on messenger RNA, which carry instructions from the DNA to create proteins. Chinese scientists sequenced the coronavirus and published that research around Jan. 10. Researchers at NIAID and Moderna analyzed that research.
The experimental coronavirus vaccine instructs the body to make proteins from the virus. But, the proteins don't infect a person. Instead, they trigger an immune response — essentially protecting that person from contracting Covid-19.
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